What’s different about how most businesses approach IT today, compared to how they did it a decade or two ago? One of the biggest and most notable changes is that companies have shifted toward leveraging technology in more of a strategic (as opposed to tactical) way, according to the IT Industry Outlook 2019 report from CompTIA.
“Certainly, there has always been some mix of tactics and strategy in the directive of any IT function, with that mix varying based on the size of the business, the vertical industry, or the attitudes of upper management,” the report states. “But the shift towards strategy is a general phenomenon that has affected all businesses and driven a new paradigm.”
Essentially, organizations used to see the IT department as something that supported the rest of the business and drove productivity and efficiency. Today, IT departments tend to not only perform tactical support work but also play a part in achieving business-wide strategic goals, CompTIA explains.
That transition from a mostly tactical role to a more strategic one has presented new challenges for IT departments and CIOs who now work alongside other departments and business executives on higher-level initiatives. Here are a few key things that every business leader should know about this notable shift toward strategic IT in the corporate world.
1. Why has IT shifted from tactical to strategic? In the past couple of decades, people have become much more reliant on technology (e.g., smartphones and other mobile devices) to perform day-to-day tasks, both personally and professionally.
For businesses, efforts to attract customers and maintain relationships with them now take place digitally, using platforms such as social media and unified communications (UC) platforms with omnichannel capabilities. IT departments have become directly involved in working toward strategic objectives because technology has turned into “the primary mechanism for success,” the CompTIA report states.
2. What’s an IT roadmap and why should my business have one? If you want your CIO and IT department to successfully take part in achieving company-wide strategic goals, it’s essential to create an IT roadmap. Frequently, CIOs find themselves wanting to have a hand in moving toward larger goals, instead of getting bogged down with minor daily tech problems, according to the CIO article “Why You Need a Strategic IT Roadmap.” Establishing an official, strategic plan for the IT department will ensure they stay involved in and act in line with your business’s big-picture, long-term objectives.
This roadmap can serve as an important point of reference during discussions between the CIO and other executives, in addition to helping with planning and budgeting. Here are some elements that a strategic IT roadmap should include, according to CIO.
- Overall strategy statement
- Project and initiative timelines
- High-level reasons for each project
- Project ownership
- Project budgets and estimated duration
3. What does the shift toward strategic IT mean for CIOs and internal tech teams? Involvement in broad strategic initiatives means that CIOs and IT team staff members get to partner with other departments, rather than just acting in a support role, in addition to joining in upper-level discussions, according to CompTIA.
However, it also comes with some challenges, particularly for IT teams at small to midsize businesses that have limited resources in terms of both budget and personnel. Strategic projects might also call for specialized expertise that IT teams previously didn’t need to leverage.
4. How do IT support providers factor into a strategic approach to IT? For in-house IT teams that lack the resources needed to take care of daily demands as well as broader business goals, partnering with an IT managed service provider can make a big difference. A third party IT support provider can offer access to specialized expertise, proactive support, and overall tackle daily tactical tasks, freeing up internal IT staff members to focus on strategic projects.
If you’d like to learn more about how your business can approach IT in a more strategic way, feel free to reach out to our team of expert techs. Our team can provide proactive support and handle day-to-day concerns, empowering CIOs and internal IT teams to focus on broader business objectives. Additionally, our experienced consultants can help your organization craft a strategic IT roadmap. Contact us today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.