I recently had a candid conversation with one of our marketing executives, and I was shocked to learn her perspective on IT’s purpose within the company. The conversation was about web site performance. I was talking about how so many of the company’s objectives require IT, including her objectives to improve the web site’s performance. She had been working directly with our internal development team for over a year to get a project rolling to improve our web site’s performance with no traction and no success. Immediately after learning about her objective, I offered a solution. Since our developers were unable to prioritize a project for her, I suggested that we put a layer of caching in front of the site to meet her performance objectives without having our developers modify a single line of code. I explained to her how IT is entrenched in every aspect of the company, charged with the goal of making everyone more efficient and finding creative solutions to the company’s technical challenges. She had no idea that we could help her. She confessed to me that she thought that IT was just the people who sets up her new monitors and replaces her laptops every few years. Very sad.
The saddest thing, is that this marketing executive’s perspective is not an exception, it’s a common belief among other executives as well. By not knowing the role of IT, she excluded us from the conversation and paid for it with a year of lost clicks, lost leads, and lost revenue.
If a company was viewed as Amtrak, then the IT department would be Grand Central Station – the hub in which all paths cross. If a company was viewed as a car, then IT would be the oil and the gas (or batteries). You get the idea. IT is the force that keeps the company productive, on track, online, and competitive. Innovation starts here. If you think IT just sets up your monitors and then goes back to their caves, you are naive and it is very likely that you will struggle to succeed.
Advice – Learn the importance of IT and leverage your IT team to help you succeed! At a minimum, keep them informed. Any modern company without IT representation with a seat at the table, is destined for failure.