You wouldn’t ask a brain surgeon to do a hip replacement. Why expect your IT department to do everything?

This is part 1 of a 3 part series that addresses the value your IT department adds and why you shouldn’t put every problem through to them

Last week I spoke about how taking a strategy driven approach to choosing the tech tools your business uses will help your people work more efficiently.

Having the right tools will take a lot of waste away from their day to day jobs, and they’ll be more productive as a result. 

So if building the strategy is easy, surely delivering on it will be simple as well, right?

After all, you’ve got an IT team. They’re experts in technology. They’ll be able to take care of choosing the marketing automation system or implementing your new payroll.

Right?

Well…

Your IT department are experts in their field. But that doesn’t mean they are experts on all the details about every technology system on the market.

Because IT is a very broad discipline. Just like legal, health, or teaching, IT involves multiple domains which cover separate business functions. It’s possible for people to specialise in one of these domains. It’s likely many will have knowledge of multiple domains. 

What’s unlikely is they will have expertise of all domains, or the time to focus on things which sit outside their areas. They also may not be that big – a 2014 survey found that the average IT department size is 4.2 staff with many companies not expecting to increase the size of their team. 

Your IT department isn’t there to implement your payroll system, or chose a marketing tool. They are there to look after the development and operations of the products you sell, the platforms you sell through, and any integration to these to these.

Your IT department is there to run the specialised elements of your business. That’s the product and services you sell and the channels you sell them through. That’s what makes you unique and stand out in the market. 

All the other systems you use, payroll, ERP, CRM – that’s just a cost of doing business. They won’t differentiate you from any other kid on the block (though used correctly they can be a point of differentiation, but that’s another topic) 

You wouldn’t ask a brain surgeon to do a hip replacement. Why expect your IT department to do everything?

Asking your team to look into that payroll system means they have to stop something else while they do it. That something else may be product enhancements, or a re-platform of your website – it’s something that will generate income. 

You still need to think strategically when it comes to these tools, and you should always have your IT department involved in the conversations. But involved in doesn’t mean make them responsible for – especially not if you’re measuring them on results, and definitely if they are not a big team to start with. 

In my next articles, I’ll be exploring the way in which you should involve your IT department in purchasing decisions, the value Business Architecture can play in your decision making, and why the competency doesn’t need to be owned by your business.

Thanks for reading. I welcome all comments as they add perspective and diversity to advance the conversation. Check out my other articles and share your thoughts!

#digitaltransformation #whatsyourITfuture #DigitalStrategy #HRTech #FinTech #resourceplanning #TechnologyStrategy

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