Survey finds companies want a more engaged IT department

Posted by Ron Miller on Apr 17, 2014 7:18:00 AM

8095970847_b854626729_bA new survey that was published by Avanade this week found that for the most part companies want their IT departments to be service oriented, flexible and ready to help business units.

The report didn't come out and say it, but it probably means that conversely, companies don’t want an IT department that's making all the technology decisions and dictating policy to business units. It's worth noting the study found that business units still need your help, but they want a partner, not a dictator.

Understanding this changing role is going to be increasingly important moving forward and it's further proof that IT shouldn't be running from new technologies like the cloud, mobile and social. It should be embracing them to stay relevant and up to date for the changing needs of the organization.

While you may be thinking that you have enough on your plate just running the legacy applications for your organization, the survey, which was conducted in February from over 1,000 C-level executives and IT decision makers, found that 36 percent of IT's time was spent maintaining legacy systems.

The report saw this in negative terms, saying IT has less time to innovate. But if you figure you spend one third of your day on legacy stuff, that gives you plenty of time to be working with the business units on their problems and requirements.

And while you may wonder if you really need to know about the cloud, 44 percent of those C-level executives who responded say they believe IT needs more cloud skills.

To that end, about a third of those responding reported that their companies were making the transformation to a service broker model where IT works as partners with business units using their technical smarts to help drive intelligent technology choices.

And it's proving to be a popular model, as 58 percent of those using this approach plan to expand IT's broker role over the next year.

But it's clearly a time of transition too, as 37 percent of budgets are now being allocated outside of IT and fully 71 percent of C-level executives and business unit leaders believe they can make technology decisions "better and faster" without including IT support in the decision-making process.

All of this data should be telling you that people are capable of choosing technology today without help as it becomes simpler to procure solutions without IT involvement. This doesn't mean, however that IT doesn't have a big role to play, as the answer about acting as broker attests.

It just means that your role is changing, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

You can fight it and try to stick to old models of doing business, but if you're smart you'll read the tea leaves and see the change that's happening all around you and begin taking steps to transform yourself into a partner that understands the needs of the business and not just the needs of IT.

Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.

Topics: Innovation and Ideas