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IT as a strategic driver

IT as a strategic driver

The image of IT departments is often poor among executives and employees alike. How can the IT department develop its internal credibility as a strategic partner?


Many executives say they are unhappy with the return on their IT investments. Recurrent complaints include the opacity of the IT function and the lack of alignment of IT projects with operational priorities. In the field, IT often suffers from a poor image. Many people perceive IT as a commodity, rather than as a strategic driver. And the situation isn’t helped by the difficulties of getting operational staff and “techies” to collaborate.

Yet, IT infrastructures have never been so elaborate and efficient. The McKinsey Quarterly article Where IT infrastructure and business strategy meet reminds us that we have gone from infrastructures with a dozen servers just fifteen years ago to hyper-sophisticated data centers which may contain hundreds of thousands of servers today. Network data storage, practically nonexistent in the nineties, now consumes tens of thousands of dollars in large IT firms. We now have trouble imagining how we ever managed without the systems that enable information to circulate everywhere in business organizations, collaborative platforms, assisted decision-making tools, secure Internet access, etc.

Improving the image of the IT function is a real performance challenge. Indeed, how can you tap the full potential of new technologies if those who master them are not respected by the rest of the organization? The experts thus underline the urgent need to improve the positioning of the IT department:

- Clearly communicate the value created. Otherwise, people will notice IT only when things aren’t working.

- Bring IT and operational staff closer to establish truly collaborative relationships.

- Position IT staff as consultants who can enhance the company’s strategic development.

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