Founder of Michael Cobbin & Associates
Are you ready for a seat at your organisation’s table, where you knock elbows with key executives and deliver a better enterprise IT strategy? If you’ve been imagining this vision for IT, I’m here to tell it’s possible. It just takes making yourself visible and continually engaging with the right people at your organisation to determine how your technology solutions can plug into the organisation’s overall plan to drive results.
Join them – because you can no longer beat them
The days of having more technical knowledge than everyone else in your company are over. The proliferation of personal mobile gadgets has made the workforce tech-savvier, to the point where employees are the ones lobbying for certain technologies so they can work the way they want, when they want.
You can no longer dig your heels into the ground – the only way to evolve is to embrace working with this more knowledgeable workforce. This evolution is a good thing; it allows you to become more strategic by road mapping programmes such as Bring Your Own Device. You will still be involved in the technical aspects of provisioning these devices, but you will also help lay out an overall blueprint for mobile solutions going forward.
Look past the short-term
Does your current IT management plan focus on keeping the lights on or does it align with the growth strategy of the business? Building a stronger IT department necessitates moving towards long-term business goals while balancing risk and C-level expectations. Research shows the most successful IT departments specialise in process management and qualitative skills, and focus on business results.
Imagine how strategic IT management goals can match up with overall enterprise goals so you can begin delivering on business outcomes. Assertively supply your input into the total business strategy and plan technology solutions where needed. Don’t forget that overall business performance measures and capital budgets should be aligned as well, in addition to risk management strategies.
The sad fact of Australia enterprise IT is that often the end-user doesn’t notice the material change or the value of the solution you’ve provided. It’s become your job to educate not only customers but the C-levels in your company and the marketing department so they can spread the word about what’s going on behind the scenes in the IT department. Demonstrate the value of these achievements beyond a revenue perspective; you may have provided a solution that allows a customer to do something in a tenth of a second, for instance, but if revenue has dropped, no one is listening. Show how improving system speed and usability will lead to improved productivity and, therefore, more revenue.
Show your face
In step with increasing the visibility of your hard work, another way to become a stronger asset to your company is by building relationships. Increasing communication and assertively pursuing sponsorship from executives and stakeholders will take you out of the back-office mindset and into a more dynamic discussion with your company. This extends to customers as well – you should find out what they want and need so you can begin building these aims into the business-IT strategy.
If you are not having customer meetings at the coalface, how do you truly understand the support you need to provide the business?
Transitions take time. As you make the move to become a more strategic asset to your company, be open to suggestions. Perspectives will likely change as the business-IT strategy unfolds. You will have continual meetings with the CEO, business unit heads and customers to solidify the most important objectives. Remaining open to this process will help uncover which business-IT goals are truly achievable and what it will take to execute them.
Are you ready to take your seat as a strategic business partner whose contributions are crucial to the business achieving its aims? Start the conversation with the key players now to turn your stronger, more strategic IT vision into a reality.