IS THE IT DEPARTMENT REALLY DRIVING THE BUSINESS?
As IT professionals, we hear more rhetoric every day about the department’s increased responsibility to drive business growth. Though we know the importance of having an effective, high-performing infrastructure that delivers on end users’ expectations and makes sure that everything runs smoothly, the edict of “driving business growth” can be a stretch. Does today’s average C-level executive truly understand and appreciate the impact that IT has on business? Despite the benefits of an effective IT department, IT budgets are flat-lining or declining. It is being allotted less human capital than other departments, as in most cases, the C-suite continues to see the IT department as a cost center and overhead that is necessary, but not mission critical.The reality is that even with peak technology,IT is not yet truly driving businesses. In most cases, the vast majority of businesses decisions are made outside of IT, usually without the department having a seat at the table. At the same time, IT is falling under increased pressure to deliver higher levels of service and meet increasingly arduous demands. As technology becomes more consumer-friendly and mobile, end user expectations are growing while simultaneously creating a more complex environment for IT to manage.
How can IT departments not only meet increased expectations, but also earn a meaningful seat in the C-suite to become real decision makers within the business?
- Understand business requirements across silos: A major issue preventing IT from gaining visibility as a business driver is its tendency to isolates itself by not working in parallel with key business objectives. It should have a deep understand of what the business requires from each department to drive revenue and other target metrics, including an understanding of what is required from the IT on a tactical as well as strategic level. For example, IT should speak regularly with sales, marketing, HR, etc. to make sure that they are working in concert toward goals and metrics that are meaningful to the C-suite. Once these objectives are communicated, other departments, like sales, will be more aware of the key role that IT plays in helping the entire business achieve success. Businesses that map and synchronize requirements with IT will enhance transparency and understanding, which will facilitate effective solutions.
- Provide transparency with effective management and monitoring: Once IT is working in tandem across business units, it is important to stay one step ahead of any potential challenges that could arise throughout the IT infrastructure. They need to make sure that everything is running smoothly in the managing and monitoring environment by running reports and staying on top of potential issues. Using tools such as native plug-ins in conjunction with existing platforms like Microsoft Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM) can help IT departments achieve end-to-end monitoring, allowing it to view the entire stack from a single pane of glass perspective and watch thousands of potential performance threats at the same time. Proactive monitoring is the key to shifting IT’s priorities from troubleshooting to addressing mission critical aspects of the business, thereby increasing sales and driving revenue. This improvement in performance is what will help boost business and support company-wide goals.
- Showcase the ability to drive the business by improving performance: A key challenge for any IT department is to effectively incorporate the storage and data management components, which are also usually taking the biggest chunk of the IT budget. One critical mistake that many IT teams make is overprovisioning, due to a lack of consistency and predictability from a storage perspective. In order to eliminate the perception of IT as a pure cost center, the IT department must be able to proactively develop solutions to accommodate those needs. By deploying consolidated management packs, teams can better utilize limited resources and more effectively anticipate spikes in usage, thereby ensuring that the entire enterprise is operating at peak performance at all times without investing in costly – and underused – additional storage.
These three steps will help IT teams drive business and support their goals. By understanding business requirements, enhancing transparency with monitoring and management and showcasing performance improvements, IT can help enabling sales and other business drivers to do what matters most to the C-suite: increase revenue. Once revenue can be tied directly to the efforts of IT, it will finally get its deserved credit as a true business driver.
Learn how Comtrade is helping IT departments proactively monitor mission critical apps to enable them to become business drivers.