As an IT professional, you have great insight to share with leadership. Your expertise and understanding of technology can be a driving force for innovation and process efficiencies within the organization.
The problem? You may not be viewed as a strategic resource by those who yield decision-making power. Leadership may not recognize your full value or what you can bring to the table. Worse, your role within the organization may be misunderstood. Perhaps you’re simply seen as “the help desk guy” or the person who can get the conference room display working.
It can be challenging to work within an organization that isn’t clued into your full knowledge and capabilities. Not least among these challenges, top-end decisions made without your input can lead to inefficient systems and workflows, potentially creating workforce frustration – and more work for you.
You want to be a stronger strategic partner within the organization, but how do you do that?
According to IT professionals we asked for our new eBook, Strategic IT: 5 Ways IT Pros Can Collaborate with Leadership to Increase Business Influence, that starts with making yourself an expert in the work your organization does.
“Learn your business as well as you can,” says Thomas Lee, owner of PS Partnership. The IT veteran, with more than four decades in the industry, reminds, “Your business is not technology, it’s whatever your organization does.”
Greg Schulz, founder of StorageIO, agrees, emphasizing that IT pros must “understand the business functions that the technology has to support.”
A comprehensive view of the business can have an immediate impact on how well you’re able to serve as a strategic partner in your organization’s success. “When you understand organizational needs and can speak in terms leadership understands,” Greg says, “you can justify technology solutions by demonstrating how well they address objectives.”
This last element is key to being viewed as a credible strategic resource by leadership. “It’s critical to align what you’re doing in IT with what the business is doing,” says Anthony Sutcliffe, a UK-based consultant who has worked with organizations of all types and sizes. “IT must be on the same page with the organization.”
Getting to be an expert in the work your organization does is just the start. As any IT pro will attest, a wide range of challenges can make it seem like there is a massive gulf between your team – maybe that’s you, a team of one – and leadership.
You won’t have immediate control over some of these issues, but it’s not time to raise the white flag. All IT professionals can take steps to become stronger collaborators and increase their influence within the organization. Our eBook spells out five ways you can position yourself as a partner with management to increase the impact of information technology on business.
When you set out to achieve a stronger strategic role within the organization, good things happen. Bringing your technology expertise to the fore, you can help increase business-IT alignment by addressing longstanding issues and new business challenges alike. You can drive innovation, increase efficiency, and reduce waste.
Jeremy Thomson, another of the IT professionals featured in our eBook, shares an example of the impact a strategic technology professional can have on an organization. The IT manager of Caddo Parish Sherriff’s Office, Jeremy explains, “By demonstrating the value of adopting the right technology, I have gotten upper management interested in the actual ticket count and seeing where issues lay.”
That’s the strategic IT professional in action – collaborating efficiently with leadership to increase their influence and bring on solutions that help meet business objectives. And the payoff can be big: “Management may well recognize you’re speaking their language,” says Greg, “and pull you into other conversations about how to do things better.”
Learn more about how you can be more influential as an IT professional in your organization by downloading our new eBook, IT as a Strategic Partner: How to Collaborate with Leadership and Increase Business Influence.