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Adapting to change; the new look IT department

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As I speak to business and technical managers in organisations across Australia, I hear a lot about the trends driving change in the corporate IT function.


These developments include IT being delivered and consumed in increasingly different ways - particularly 'as a service' from the cloud - and business units making more technology decisions themselves.


The rise of mobility is also changing the IT dynamic. Businesses are increasingly integrating mobility into their operations to engage more closely with their workforce and with consumers.


By doing so, companies can boost workplace productivity and foster closer relationships with their customers.


So how are these developments changing the IT department?


  • First, the 'technology' budget is no longer the domain of IT.
  • Second, IT teams are having to integrate new systems - funded and driven by the business on an ad-hoc basis - with existing legacy technologies.
  • Third, companies are now experiencing the frustration of dealing with a range of suppliers, pricing models, service levels and contractual arrangements.


As you would expect, costs - and the chances of your IT manager being struck down by migraines - can increase rapidly!


So how can the IT department restructure and adapt to manage cloud, mobility and other changes?


The first step is to accept that services related to business-as-usual functions are becoming increasingly commoditised and outsourced to managed service providers. These providers typically have the up-to-date skills, best practice processes and economies of scale to drive unnecessary costs out of managing the existing IT infrastructure.


But don't despair - the IT department isn't being abolished. While many IT specialists will be employed by third parties, businesses will still need in-house people to set strategies and manage projects, delivery, contracts and governance.


These people will work with the business, collaborate on new initiatives, understand how data from multiple systems affects integration and analysis, and map the impact on current business flows and processes.


So while they'll understand IT strategy and delivery, they'll be embedded in the business.


If you're an IT manager, you'll be working to understand the different skills and capabilities needed within your organisation. To add value to business teams, you'll work with them to develop a management and organisational structure that can support the 'new IT'.


What does the new IT department look like?


By restructuring into a business unit that embraces these new roles and functions, the IT department can inform, educate and position itself as the 'glue' that binds together the new technologies introduced by business units.


This allows these new systems to deliver the maximum value possible to the business.


So in my view, the top five roles for the new IT department will be:


  1. technology strategists
  2. tech-savvy, business-focused analysts
  3. project managers working for a business program management office
  4. contract managers to oversee service delivery
  5. audit and governance specialists.


How is your business managing the changing demands on IT in capabilities, skills and resources that come from the new digital revolution?


Let me know by dropping me a note at @ChrisRKennett


By Chris Kennett, Optus Business Industry Manager, Enterprise Sales NSW. More from Michael on Twitter: @ChrisRKennett All views expressed are the author's own.