Three Reasons IT Departments Are Struggling to be Relevant

Abrasively offensive? Humorously inept? Out of touch? Which vision do you think of when you think of the “IT guy”? I’ve had countless conversations in my career with people who feel the IT stereotypes are very accurate. I’ve heard story after story of the IT people who just don’t get it. It’s important to understand this point if we ever want it to be different:

IT stereotypes make perfect sense

It started in the mid-1990s when the internet was new. Businesses found a new competitive advantage by providing a desktop computer for each employee. Those who could setup and fix these magic machines were in short supply and provided incredibly high value. An industry was born. Those who had the knowledge called the shots. The business became tailored to the convenience of the service provider.

Many individuals who were qualified to provide this service were those who spent more time with the machines than with people. Comfort with the black and white world of machines and data was more important than the ability connect with businesses and people. The black and white was more important than the grey. In those early years the economics of this worked for us, but now we’ve got a problem.

IT services haven’t changed

The IT services industry may seem like it’s changed, but underneath the new tools and friendlier faces there is still an assumption that IT professionals hold the knowledge and should call the shots. Most organizations still run IT Departments that are tied more closely to the server room than the boardroom.

Today’s employees don’t need the IT Department

It’s 2017. Most employees have either been using computers and phones for 20+ years or their entire working life. Modern IT runs from the cloud, not the server room. Employees know how to use their devices. Anyone can sign up for cloud technology services such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Office 365.

Businesses need IT support more than ever. But it has to be different

Business leaders are now forced to make their own technology decisions in a world of thousands of options. COOs need integrated operations, CFOs need cost controls, and CEOs need to know their data is safe from being lost or stolen. So how does IT need to evolve? In the next few blog posts, I’ll discuss the changes we all need from IT to face the challenges of business over the next decade.