Why IT needs a seat at the leadership table


Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Why IT needs a seat at the leadership table

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, with millions of companies worldwide rapidly adopting cloud technology and more flexible work practices, it’s become increasingly evident that organisations that fail to transform and adopt new technologies are falling behind. However, many companies overlook the need for digital transformation to be more aligned with business objectives, as well as the increasing need for the IT team to be more intrinsically linked with the organisational leadership team, according to IT management company ManageEngine.

For many businesses, digital transformation falls squarely into the remit of the IT department, with decisions made based on which solutions will best integrate with the existing technology stack or which solution is the most cost-effective, rather than on which ones will have a measurable impact on business outcomes.

Vinayak Sreedhar, head of business development, ManageEngine Australia, said IT teams are increasingly called on to strengthen business position.

“The relevance and importance of the IT team in relation to business outcomes has been increasing in recent years. Businesses are coping with the impact of COVID-19 which, among other issues, has also led to a rise in cybersecurity threats. Therefore, business executives are increasingly turning to the IT team to help strengthen their position in the market with the support of smart digital solutions.”

The company’s recent Digital Readiness Survey found that 87% of respondents across ANZ trusted their senior IT leadership team to lead the organisation into the future. Additionally, 73% of ANZ respondents believed that IT leaders made better CEO candidates than those in traditional roles, including sales, finance and marketing. This indicates a shift in the respect afforded to IT’s ability to deliver in the post-pandemic age.

“There has been increasing conversation over the need for IT to be more aligned with business objectives, particularly in response to the pandemic. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to better integrate IT leaders into the executive leadership team.

“As IT leaders become more intrinsically linked with the business team, the conversation can also move beyond alignment and more towards business outcomes as a whole. It’s important to take a more holistic view of the business landscape, including the ways in which IT works symbiotically with other departments to achieve business objectives. This can help to better frame IT goals within the same context as other departments. For example, looking at how IT can help drive customer growth or improve retention can better demonstrate the business benefits of IT,” Sreedhar said.

To help achieve this, IT leaders must also consider the changing nature of both the IT and business landscapes. As rapidly as technology changes, so does the nature of business and the needs of the organisation.

“IT leaders need to demonstrate their value to the business leadership team in the first instance and on an ongoing basis. This means that technology strategies, such as business strategies, must be constantly revisited and assessed to ensure they are still working with the organisation’s best interests at their core to continue to deliver ongoing business success,” Sreedhar said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Connect world

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