The IT Revolution: Why IT Needs a Seat at the Table
As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Jeremy Rafuse, the VP of IT and Head of Digital Workplace at GoTo, explains why the IT revolution requires IT teams to be more involved in higher-level company decision-making.
In today’s world, where hybrid work rules and mounting security concerns are top of mind, the leadership structure of the past no longer works. IT teams have become increasingly essential, and they need a seat at the table to share their vision and assist in decision-making at the highest levels. Not only can IT help navigate the evolving needs of businesses, but it also plays a vital role in assessing security concerns, increasing employee productivity, boosting revenue by driving new operational efficiencies, and more. The businesses that will be the most successful in the future are the ones that keep IT teams top of mind and readily acknowledge their role as the engine that keeps business moving.
Of course, businesses still need traditional leaders as they always have, but as a company’s needs and priorities shift, so should the voices leading it. IT leaders offer a unique vision and strategy which has only strengthened in the last few years. But what does the new role of IT in leadership look like, and how can businesses capitalize on these changes to drive new opportunities?
IT Success Equals Business Success
Without the voice of IT considered at the highest level, it is impossible for business decision-makers to confidently say that they are putting their best foot forward. Historically, IT has often been viewed as a behind-the-scenes department. Reactionary, sitting behind closed doors and waiting for things to break. While that may have been true in the past, it could not be further from the truth today. For an IT revolution to occur, IT needs a seat at the table to align with business needs, be in lockstep with executives on company goals, and transition from supporting the business to driving it.
IT success should be synonymous with the success of the business. So much so that Gartner’s IT report found that “81 percent of CIOs expect to grow their IT teams in 2023.” This is made possible by “full-time IT employees perform 56 percent of the work, while technology advancements such as automation and AI-augmented work account for just over 9 percent of work today.” If the goal of a C-Suite is to drive businesses forward, human IT teams are helping to do precisely that by co-creating business value.
It’s Time for IT’s ‘Main Character Moment’
Whether or not people realize it, IT is—and has always been—the backbone of any successful business or department. From HR and finance to customer-facing teams, IT keeps everybody’s world turning. Especially now, the proliferation of hybrid work and increasing security concerns have pushed IT teams to the forefront of crucial business discussions and initiatives.
While these new responsibilities can dramatically impact a business, they also create new challenges for the IT teams managing historically high workloads. In fact, GoTo’s recent survey found that 76 percent of IT workers reported increased workloads due to adopting flexible work models, with 43 percent agreeing that IT jobs have become more difficult. These shifts force IT leadership to work overtime to ensure everyone is always seamlessly and securely connected. IT departments must keep up with constant updates, new operating systems, and emerging threats. If not, understaffed teams risk falling behind.
Making the necessary security improvements is especially important in a hybrid and remote work landscape where employees, customers, and leadership are dispersed. This evolution has forced a shift in the way teams can cross-collaborate and created an opportunity for IT to help alleviate growing pains by guiding businesses through the process of implementing new security tactics like Multifactor Authentication (MFA), zero trust frameworks, enforcing acceptable use policies, and beyond.
Understanding IT’s importance reduces a business’ vulnerability to security infringements by giving them the voice they need at the executive level. IT teams continue to save the day despite the increase in employee help tickets, an ever-increasing number of tools to manage, and a continuously growing workload.
When it comes to IT, Less is More (Problems)
Usually, the phrase ‘less is more’ is a good thing—but not when it comes to IT. Less IT support means more problems and headaches for customers and employees alike. When IT is de-prioritized, businesses are more vulnerable to system downtimes, poor customer experience, and security risks, and innovation efforts naturally fall by the wayside. A solid IT infrastructure and high-quality IT support must be a top investment if an organization wants to stand out among the competition and increase revenue.
Unfortunately, even equipped with this knowledge, IT isn’t prioritized as it should be. A new report released by Janco Associates shows that all signs point to fewer new IT jobs in 2023. The IT job market is expected to “add 174,000 jobs in 2023, a slight dip from the 186,300 jobs added in 2022.” We all know that budget constraints do not change the outsized role these leads have post-COVID; if anything, it should serve as a lesson on the importance of including IT in the strategy process.
Shrinking IT’s budget is not the solution to the problem. The answer is quite the opposite. Over the last two years, the demand for IT has skyrocketed. Leadership must continue to devote time and energy to standing up efficient and effective IT teams to ensure their company can successfully run from anywhere. That means that IT leaders are up against the challenge of keeping businesses afloat without breaking the bank. Leaders should consider optimizing their tech stack and focusing on vendor consolidation. By reducing the number of tech solutions and consolidating vendors, there are fewer bills to pay and more time to focus on the technology that matters. A unified tech stack ensures team members are spending time and resources on things that don’t matter. IT departments can prioritize business needs and focus on expanding their organization without being held back by the haze of multiple tech solutions and vendors.
The solution to the problem is simple. What is now clearer than ever is that hybrid and remote work would not be possible without prioritizing the insights of IT. The IT revolution is here, and it’s time that business leaders take notice.
- The IT Revolution: Why IT Needs a Seat at the Table - August 29, 2023