Feb 21, 2019

IT on IT: Changing Perceptions of the IT Function and Why They Matter

Nick Chang, Editor

There can be no doubt that IT is on the leading edge of digital transformation, driving organizational change that is fully bringing enterprises into the digital era. And there’s no shortage of think pieces and editorials on how this has shifted the role of IT.

But in the discussion, what’s often missing is the perspective of the IT professionals on the front lines, the ones doing the work day in and day out, often spending significant time even after hours to keep the business on track.

What do they think about the IT function, and how would they describe their role in the business?

Here’s what we learned in a survey of 500 IT professionals.

IT Holds the Enterprise Together

“We are the thread that keeps the company running and secure and together.”

“We are the glue that keeps this company together.”

IT is a function that touches every other. Even as its responsibilities have expanded far beyond merely maintaining technology systems, IT’s integration into every part of the enterprise weaves them into the day-to-day of the entire business.

IT Is the Center of the Enterprise

“Our department is the core of our organization.”

“The IT department is the backbone of our organization.”

The nuance here is not just that IT pros believe their work is integral to the other functions: They see it as intimately supporting everything that goes on in the business. In other words, they’re saying that without IT’s constant support, the business couldn’t function at all—an idea perhaps supported by just how much of IT pros’ days is taken up by routine maintenance.

IT Drives the Enterprise

“IT is the brain of the company.”

As the keepers of the tech, the IT function is at the nexus of any modern enterprise’s operations. Businesses are faced with the growing need to quickly adopt and leverage new technology for digital transformation, and IT is in the perfect position to have a central role in these initiatives.

IT Powers the Enterprise

“We are the engine that makes this company work.”

In our survey report, The State of IT Infrastructure Management, we found that 86 percent of IT pros would say that IT is driving their organization’s digital transformation efforts. And certainly, their oversight of the organization’s key technology powers the organization on a day-to-day basis, but their unique ability to drive innovation through technology is what sets the function apart.

IT Is Attached to the Heart of the Enterprise

“We are not only dedicated but attached to the heart of the company making sure every element is covered, fixed, updated and integrated.”

Again, IT sees itself at the center of the organization, a function whose daily operations power the entire organization from top to bottom. And like a heart, IT’s impact on the rest of the organization is far greater than its size would suggest.

IT Is Talking About Transformation—Everyone Should Be Listening

In our survey, we asked IT professionals about the one thing they’d like their CEO to know about their department or team. The range of answers we got highlighted many lessons for anyone interested in the future of IT—and certainly not just CEOs.

But from those responses, we also got a snapshot of a function in flux.

As IT is called upon to do more with less and expectations—both internal and external—change, IT professionals are hungry to be recognized for their unique contributions to the enterprise, and not just as an operational cost center. The colorful metaphors they used to describe their jobs illustrate the passion and enthusiasm with which they approach their work, even with the stress of limited resources and packed to-do lists.

For those in IT, does this resonate with you? And for those of you outside IT, does this change how you think? Weigh in on social media to continue the conversation.

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Nick Chang


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