“We are all working together, we all understand the business. Τhat’s the secret”. Sam Walton, the man who founded Walmart a few decades ago, described with this sentence the key to successful organizational leadership.
He explained that within an organization, all sectors need to be aware of what the others are doing and how they are doing it. Also, all departments have to be heavily involved in creating added value and business opportunities. To that, everyone involved needs a thorough understanding of the business end of the market, they are in.
Is this feasible in today’s tech-oriented companies?
Back in the days, the average IT team was a group of “geeks” putting together and maintaining intranet networks for business purposes they did not really understand.
The internet evolution – at the beginning - made the same IT teams even more geeky, as they had to invest time and energy in making these technologies part of our working lives.
Nowadays, emerging tech frameworks such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Management, the Internet of Things, have caused significant changes in the way IT teams think and act.
Leave the room. Talk to people!
It turns out, your typical IT team in any organization is now “forced to leave the room”, collaborate with management and other departments, and obtain business knowledge and mindset.
Roles such as CTO, CIO etc. have emerged as a result of this transformation, describing technologists with a strong skill set on business and operations.
These people are the ultimate bridge between an organization’s top management and the computer/server room, triggering innovation or doing critical troubleshooting on a daily basis.
Ways to connect IT with the business side
How do large organizations extract business value from their IT teams today? What are the most effective ways of connecting the business side with the IT side? Let’s take a look at some popular and effecting “tools” all businesses can employ:
1. Each time your IT team suggests something, ask them this: How does this technology add value? Why do you expect this IT project to increase revenues or reduce costs?
Do not expect bright answers from the very beginning. This is a simple way of empowering your IT personnel to build the right mindset and help your business move forward.
After all, we should never forget this: every project has a ROI!
You can start this by giving them “food for thought” with some the readings you will find on our blog.
2. Hold consistent financial discussions with IT staff
A lot of companies now tend to discuss financial issues with IT staff during regular meetings. Τhis practice cultivates a financial growth mindset and provides people with significant knowledge and insights.
Τhis way, new and existing projects go well beyond cables and networks, as IT stuff starts to think about customers, users, marketing, communications etc.
Μake an IT finance “curriculum” is a way to document your actions in this direction.
3. Give the team specific performance goals, as it happens with all other business functions who operate on a similar basis.
Not a lot to comment here. Make sure goals are feasible and they apply to common industry standards.
4. Bring people from business into the IT department.
In order for this tactical move to be effective, you will need to make sure that business people have a clear understanding of the tech infrastructure involved, and that they have a clear vision of the where the industry is going, from technology and infrastructure point of view.
Sounds complicated? Hire a consultant!
Perhaps a simple mix of all the above will be the perfect solution to establishing an IT department with clear business objectives and advanced innovative thinking.
If your organization does not have the necessary capacity to cope with all the above, you may as well hire a consultant to accelerate your IT team to new levels.
For instance, the right consultant will guide your IT staff into the next levels of digital transformation, introducing them to areas such as the benefits of colocation, effective data center management, and the importance of business continuity.
So, don’t hesitate to contact us!