The role of IT in achieving corporate objectives is pivotal. Yet this relationship appears to have gone unnoticed. Simon Darlington explains why
‘The only function of corporate IT is to further the company’s corporate aims and objectives.’ A universal truth, right? For some it has been a long time coming and for others a gulf still exists between the IT department, the board and what the business needs if it is to grow.
Every IT manager should understand his or her business inside out, not only how it works but also, more crucially, what the end goals are. But it’s not that simple. To have techies fluent in the language of the boardroom means some kind of symmetrical communication has to take place; in other words, management has to speak to the IT manager and have a system in place for communication to be reciprocated.
This exchange of ideas still baffles most business leaders, who don’t really understand what IT managers do and, perhaps unforgivably, how they can both improve the running of the business and increase profits.
Let there be no doubt that things are getting better, with a higher than ever percentage of chief information officers, including some IT directors, coming from business rather than technology backgrounds. Yet the IT manager, responsible for the day-to-day running of the company’s systems, is invariably a techie of some sort or another.
Management should remember that this is often the person who best understands the company’s technology needs, and what works and what doesn’t. Isolation of the IT manager is to the detriment of all.
It is the IT manager who often holds the knowledge and therefore the secret to the company’s success. Vendors and distributors obsessed with selling straight to board level would be advised to take a step back and consider who is actually making the day-to-day technology decisions.
Enhancing lines of communication between the IT manager and the board should be the role of the channel. Supporting, educating and being educated by the IT manager will allow resellers to present a more robust and practical solution to the board, in line with the company’s aims and goals.
Technology should not just be about the strength of the server a business uses; it should be an intrinsic part of a company’s business strategy. We have relied too heavily on selling products and solutions without applying some strict business criteria. Yet it is only by addressing the IT manager’s pain that we can truly address the needs of the company.
Simon Darlington is managing director of VAR LSI Business Solutions.
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