What an IT Department should be

I just read a great article over on TechRepublic about it departments being the Department of No. I'm sure anyone who has asked their IT Department for help knows exactly what this means. Far too often The default answer from the IT Department is no. No we don't have the resources, no we don't have the time, no we don't have enough money, no that won't work.

Imagine if your IT Department tried as hard as possible to always find a way to say yes. Or what if they spent some time asking some questions to see if there is a simple way to meet many if not most of your needs. Too many times I have seen IT people say no because they are locked into their "standards" or at least their standard way of doing things.

I have worked in the IT field long enough to know how important standards and standard approaches are to IT Departments. They allow them to minimize complexity by reducing the number of different combinations of technical solutions. It becomes too easy to hide behind these standards and then give the no answer when asked about a new business need.

Much like the writer of the TechRepublic article, I worry that IT Departments that use no as their beginning answer will find themselves irrelevant because the business will find other ways to meet their needs without engaging their IT Department. IT Departments need to get out of commodity services like web servers, email systems and even shared drives for corporate file storage. I am not trying to suggest that these aren't worthy or important technologies but there are a number of solutions available that can provide these services which would then allow th IT Department to focus more on emerging business needs.

It is time for IT Departments to have a good look at how they operate and find ways to work differently. IT Departments need to change their mode of operation so that their clients call them because they want to call them instead of being forced to call them. If you can make this change you will be able to secure your role within the organization. If you can't make the switch, you risk being eliminated.

You will be able to measure your success by how often your phone rings. I plan on making sure my phone rings often.

Posted on December 20, 2011 and filed under Opinion.