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Within most organisations, IT leaders and their teams play a crucial role in the smooth running and continued evolution of the business. Yet, despite this, they can often be overlooked and the traditional way of thinking as these teams as a service delivery entity, rather than a partner within the business, prevails. According to research by McKinsey, in 49% of organisations, IT is currently treated as a supplier, with only 27% of respondents saying their IT team acts as a partner. However, more than three-quarters (76%) believe to best support the business, IT should play the role of a partner. This is indicative of the disconnect between the role that organisations need IT to play and the role they are currently performing. With this, IT teams are regularly treated as the problem solvers within a business, rather than the enablers of change that they have the potential to be.
Yet, as data shifts from being part of the technology arm of the organisation to a fundamental part of the business itself, it is more important than ever that IT teams become the partner that the wider organisation needs. As such, a major repositioning of the IT team is required.
A more central role for IT leaders
This repositioning requires a change in mindset from both the organisation as a whole and the IT team. IT leaders in particular need to lead the charge in helping business leaders across the organisation to understand what they could be capable of if they had a more collaborative relationship with the IT team. After all, making this change offers businesses huge potential. Most notably it will allow them to connect data from across the organisation to gain real-time access and further a range of initiatives, from improving efficiency to enhancing the customer experience.
Additionally, as businesses set their sights on the new frontier that is data maturity, this repositioning will be the key to success, ensuring they are able to achieve the required flow of clean, reliable data. Therefore, it is vital that IT leaders help other divisions within the business to understand that and
demonstrate the value they would get from connecting all of their data. Doing so will help to get buy-in from across the business to allow for the IT team to become more of a partner and to implement the necessary changes to the organisation’s data architecture.
Further to this, IT leaders should begin to take on a more central function within their organisation. In businesses that have already begun to make this change, it is now common for IT leaders such as Chief Data Officers to report into the CEO or COO, showing just how important their role and data is becoming to the organisation. By following suit, other business will be able to extract more value from both their IT experts and their data.
Realising the opportunities of data
With IT playing a more central role within enterprises, they will be able to empower leaders from all divisions of the business with a wider range of data capabilities. This will ensure that individuals aren’t reliant on the IT team to surface the necessary data for them and instead will be able to access real-time, consistent, and accurate data from across the entire enterprise themselves.
These new capabilities will offer leaders from all areas of the business a wide range of benefits and opportunities, including enabling them to further key initiatives such as elevating the customer experience by giving them a 360 degree of their customers. They will also be in a position to offer their customers a more personalised experience, tailored to what they know about them, such as their preferences for being contacted, their history with the organisation, and the products or services most likely to be of interest to them.
By gaining access to interconnected data, business leaders will also gain a more accurate and holistic view of their entire enterprise. This will ensure that decisions aren’t made in silo and are informed by real-time data and insight.
Ultimately, this ability to make informed, accurate decisions based on clean, reliable, connected data to drive their business forward will help organisations to gain a competitive edge.
A win-win situation
Repositioning the IT team to take on the function of being a partner to the rest of the organisation stands to benefit every area of the business. Rather than being the doers as they have long been positioned, it will allow IT teams to become the enablers, allowing the wider business to gain the data capabilities required to embark on new initiatives and gain a competitive edge.
By putting the ability to access data in the hands of individuals across the business, organisations will be better placed to ensure they realise the true potential of both their data and their IT function. This
repositioning will be key to business’ success in a competitive landscape where data is the new oil, but data maturity is the new objective.