Moving IT from a Tactical to Strategic Role

By Generational Equity


Perhaps no other department in your company has as far-reaching an impact as IT. From the computers on every worker’s desk to your master sets of customer data, IT commands a presence across all other departments and employees.

Because of this omnipotence, you want IT to play a strategic role in your company, not a tactical one. That’s why it pays to focus on your technology department and its people as you prepare your company for a merger or sale, says Ultra Consultants.

Investments in technology and technology processes can improve your business in a number of ways, including:

  • Reducing time-consuming, error-prone manual or paper efforts
  • Syncing related efforts across departments
  • Providing greater transparency in available data such as vendor lists, item lists and customer lists
  • Saving costs through a better-managed inventory
  • Reducing shipping process times and shipping accuracy
  • Enhancing communications across all locations
  • Supporting growth

Improving your IT hardware and processes allows your company to increase overall business performance in ways it may be hard to fully picture at the outset. For instance, new technology may help you better integrate operations or reveal new sales opportunities when separate databases are merged.

If your technology department plays a strategic role in your business, it also tends to reduce the mistakes inherent in one-off processes and ad-hoc decisions that result when there’s a lack of transparency in the business’s data.

So, how do you begin to expand and deepen the role of IT in your company?

Assess Your Current IT Environment

Before you can move your technology team from a tactical to a strategic role, you must first assess the current state of affairs. This will require you to:

  • Review interfaces and integration, project management methods, security protocols and policies
  • Review key IT processes, such as disaster recovery and business continuity plans, budgets, future business requirements, and strategic development plans
  • Review IT staff design, team members, roles and professional development plans

Next, you need to judge where your IT department lies on the business maturity scale. Does your technology department operate at Level 1, or a strictly tactical, “keeping the lights on” mode? At this stage, your IT department remains constantly reactive, meaning resources are managed, expertise is added, and problems are solved after an issue crops up.

Even if your business is more mature, makes proactive data-driven decisions and runs according to establishing performance metrics, there’s likely still room for improvement.

To move your technology department into a fully strategic role within the company, you should consider hiring an IT executive with experience building an information technology center of excellence. You want your IT team to eventually be capable of leading enterprise resource planning and support all aspects of the business from the earliest planning stages to final execution.

For your IT department to support the company’s vision, they’ll probably need new tactical skills and competencies so that they’re capable of aligning IT with your organizational strategy and creating greater operational efficiencies. This will require investments in professional development for your IT staff so that they can drive future business requirements.

If this all seems too overwhelming or expensive, remember that improvements in technology can reduce the time it takes for a company to benefit from its investments, maximizing ROI even further.

Get more tips about improving your IT department using our IT Due Diligence Check List.

By Jessica Johns Pool.

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