Embracing the Expanding Role of IT in Business
I was recently asked by Processor Magazine to answer a few questions about IT’s role in business, and it occurred to me that now might be a perfect time to give a “shout out” to the IT folks out there. A sort of gift, if you will, in the spirit of the season.
First, let me dispel an all too common myth – IT is not just a group of “geeks” typing code all day in the server closet down the hall. Far from it. As technology continues marching forward, IT’s role and its importance to the bottom line continues to grow. And don’t just take my word for it – according to the MIT Sloan Management Review, Information and Information Technology have become the fifth major resource available to executives for shaping an organization, alongside people, money, material and machines. In fact, we’re witnessing all businesses, from large to small, expanding what was traditionally thought of as IT, to a broader corporate responsibility known as Information Systems (IS). This new IS paradigm is responsible for the development and implementation of business processes (BP) throughout an organization. These BP’s are often technology based and therefore the logical domain of the technology leaders of the organization.
IT, or “IS” I should say, is responsible for much more than just fixing uncooperative computers. IS deals with the use of infrastructure including PCs, servers, storage, network, security, communications, and related software to manipulate, store, protect, process, transmit, and retrieve information securely. Today, the IT umbrella is quite large and covers many disciplines. IT professionals perform various duties ranging from installing applications, implementing LAN/WAN networks, designing information databases, and managing communications. A few of the duties that IT professionals perform may include data management, networking, network security, deploying infrastructure, managing communications, database and software design & implementation, as well as the monitoring and administration of entire systems.
So what’s my point, you ask? Simply to reinforce the value of IT and help shift the corporate perception of IT as a “necessary evil” to IT as an important value center that can help businesses and employees to accomplish more, with greater accuracy, in less time, while utilizing less company resources. For 2008, I encourage companies to make a New Year’s resolution to embrace IT and look for ways to make the most of this extremely valuable resource.
 Rockart et. Al (1996) “Eight imperatives for the new IT organization,” Sloan Management Review.