The Changing Role Of IT In The Future Of Business


Daniel Newman

July 28, 2016

The way we approach business is changing. As we continually pivot to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology, individual departments within an organization are becoming as agile as the larger companies themselves. IT departments are experiencing tremendous changes as their roles expand to impact customer service, sales, and even business strategies. As a result, organizations are increasingly turning IT into a driving force in all aspects of business.

Become Leaders, Not Supporters

One thing to understand when managing the growing pains of IT is that it’s no longer the work of a single department. Research from Accenture found that 34% of companies see the IT department as the main driver of innovation, which is down from 71% two years ago. I see the reason for this as a change in IT infrastructure itself. The modern IT worker is a tech-savvy innovator who creates change across the organization’s entirety, not just a single department. As employees create change across all levels of an organization, the new face of IT defies boundaries.

IT workers aren’t just facilitating business goals; they’re driving change at an organizational level. CEOs are leaning on IT to deliver a competitive advantage as much as they do for a marketing strategy. It seems to me that this shift is directly related to “The Internet of Everything” movement, which refers to the near future in which nearly every aspect of our lives will be connected to the Internet. Since our reliance on technology increases with each passing day, IT is steadily moving to the front end—not the back—of business.

Demand An Evolved IT Skillset

The IT world is experiencing a need for upskilling in its employees, especially as the role of IT continues to evolve into a more interdisciplinary field. Machines are becoming increasingly intelligent, so we need to train our employees working alongside them to remain agile.

Just as workers across the enterprise must become more tech-savvy, workers in the IT department must understand the nuances of marketing. CIOs must increasingly hire employees with business acumen, not just good technology support skills. Enterprises will need to adjust in response to a changing talent ecosystem.

Renovate The Workforce

A few months ago, I expressed every brand’s need for continuity among marketing, sales and customer service. It’s clear that IT has a finger or two in all these pies. For a company to embrace these connections, it must see IT not as the lone geek pack, but rather as a field that supports the ebb and flow of business.

IT departments are now the linchpin of agile organizations. Their influence is spreading within the organization, and CIOs must transform the workforce along with it. Consider how you’ll construct a workforce and culture that drives innovation, as well as one that will facilitate the customer experience and encourage business growth. It seems like a tall order, but CIOs are confronted with these issues as the world around us becomes smarter. As CEOs realize their role in successfully launching new products, I believe we’ll rely on IT with increasing frequency.

Sourcing so-called “jack-of-all-trade” talent for the new business ecosystem is one thing, but CIOs must also consider legacy systems as they relate to company goals. Reskilling existing teams will be necessary to maintain agility, so it’s important to construct a team of employees who can handle the peaks and valleys of business.

This all sounds easier said than done, but there’s one prevailing attitude in business that will never change: adapt or fail. Current employees must be on board with the changing face of IT in business, while new talent should enter a role with clear expectations. It’s the CIO’s role to facilitate these processes by reskilling legacy processes and seeking out adaptable talent. Collaboration with the CMO and CEO will also be key in identifying and addressing skill gaps.

Technology is constantly evolving, and we’re at a juncture in which IT drives operations at every level of an organization. Changing the old model of IT as a separate entity into a breathing part of the business will mean a thriving enterprise—and one that runs smoothly.


This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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