IT department, are you still there?

By Jessica Drake Wetsteijn

The world is changing rapidly, and with the advent of technological advancements, many organizations are being driven by digitization.

Within information provision (IT), also known as the IT department, it's no different. Think of the arrival of technologies like GenAI and Data Management. The business departments of an organization want to anticipate these changes.

To facilitate this, IT departments are facing increasingly greater challenges. They are often very busy ensuring the basics of their services are in order, passing audits, and meeting the year's forecasts. Due to this focus, there is often insufficient time to truly respond to all developments.

It's time to pull the handbrake, look around, and collaborate closely with the business.

Because I see more and more in practice that the business is following its own IV path. A path without the IT department.

In this blog I describe in broad terms what you can do to make an active contribution to this as an IT department.
placeholder

IT's Relevant Revolution: Flexibility and Collaboration

An important step an IT department must make is ensuring they remain relevant, and that requires greater flexibility and collaboration.

A crucial step to keep up with digitalization together is to intensify cooperation between business and IT. Traditionally, these two departments are often viewed as separate entities with different goals and priorities. However, by working more closely together and integrating components, organizations can leverage the full potential of technology to achieve their business goals.

Intensifying cooperation starts by learning to understand each other's world better. For example, walk together for a few days.

In addition, it can be a good step to set up cross-functional teams. These teams include both business and IT members. By working together in a multidisciplinary manner, employees from different departments can combine their expertise and work together to find solutions that are both technologically feasible and valuable for the business.

Truly more intensive collaboration also involves establishing shared objectives and priorities. This ensures that technology initiatives are aligned with the organization's strategic objectives. This helps to prevent IT projects from becoming disconnected from the real needs of the business, and ensures that the effectiveness and relevance of IT solutions are increased.

All this may sound great, but the IT department often has the challenge of getting the basics in order. How can you as a department ensure that you can keep up with all these innovations?

That starts with reassessing what the Basics in Order is. The Basics in Order is often seen as having a grip on the work by working procedurally. Value-driven working partly requires a different way of working. So try not to fall into the trap of separating procedural working and value-driven working. It requires a recalibrated Basis op Orde.

To achieve this, as an IT department, you can make gains in various areas. I have described the most important three below.

Regularly reevaluate the IT Strategy

In a dynamic digital environment, it is essential that the IT department also continuously transform the strategy. This is no longer something you do once a year. By following developments in the market and intensifying cooperation with the business, it becomes clear much faster where the business needs lie and you can anticipate them more quickly.

To prevent your IT department from feeling like you have to operate at the whims of the business, but instead work as partners, you can choose to draw up different policies.

Policy is necessary, it contains what is really necessary for the IT department to be able to operate and carry out day-to-day activities. In addition, draw up an innovative policy. How do you, as an IT department, deal with innovations and what preconditions apply? Also consider preconditions regarding privacy, security and experimental applications. Drawing up policy does not mean writing everything down step by step.

These are guidelines that allow you to anticipate changes more quickly and thus add value more quickly.

Get out of the procedure and work value-driven

Traditional IT organizations often prioritize following procedures and maintaining existing systems over delivering real value to the organization. This approach has typically been adopted to gain better control over operations and enforce uniformity. However, excessive procedural focus can stifle creativity and ownership by micromanaging every detail.

By breaking free from strict procedural constraints and adopting a value-driven approach, IT departments can better meet the organization's needs and contribute more effectively to its strategic goals. This doesn't mean abandoning all procedures but determining what is "Just Enough" to enable value-driven work.

To work more value-driven, consider the following:

  • Understand business objectives: It's crucial to comprehend the organization's goals and translate them into actionable steps for IT/information provision (IV).
  • Prioritize based on business value: Identify projects and initiatives that add the most value to the organization and focus on those first. This requires close collaboration with the business.
  • Establish measurable goals: Set measurable objectives aligned with business goals, such as reducing process times, enhancing customer satisfaction, or improving operational efficiency.
  • Work in iterations: Embrace short iterative cycles to gather feedback from stakeholders promptly and make necessary adjustments.
  • Invest in skills and technologies: Ensure the IT department possesses the necessary skills and technologies to add value to the organization. This may involve investing in employee training and evaluating/implementing new technologies aligned with business objectives.
  • Communication: Effectively communicate the value added by projects, any changes they bring, and projects on the roadmap to increase adoption and stakeholder engagement.

Transitioning to a value-driven IT approach requires a shift in mindset and operational practices but can lead to significant improvements in organizational effectiveness and alignment with strategic goals.

Flexibility

As previously mentioned, flexibility is crucial for an IT department. This also entails ensuring that your IT landscape is built with flexibility in mind. Therefore, it's essential to have a foundational infrastructure for regular services and a scalable infrastructure that allows for innovation and experimentation with new applications.

Achieving this requires closer collaboration with IT vendors.

The challenges IT departments face in keeping up with digitalization are complex and diverse. In my opinion, it starts with fostering more intensive collaboration to create value, enabling a better understanding of each other's needs and priorities. By incorporating more value-driven practices and flexibility, the IT department can continue to serve the business effectively in the future.

Want to know more?

Do you feel that your IT organization can no longer keep up with change? Or is your organization on the eve of setting up a management organization, sourcing strategy or other major change and would you like more information? Please contact me Jessica Drake Wetsteijn at jessica.drake@vka.nl.

Related insights

divider