As an IT leader you must decide if your team will focus on innovation or “keeping the lights on.” Will you support digital transformation in your organization? Or will you allow shadow IT to mushroom — resulting in systems you are still responsible for but cannot control?
In lagging or low-tech industries choosing to focus on keeping the lights on may be the only option. If your business isn’t demanding change you may be fine as far as the business goes in keeping the status quo. Unfortunately, top tech talent won't be attracted to roles in such organizations and your own career progression will stall. In short, the best minds in technology will focus on digital innovation or risk being left behind.
It is tempting to believe you can do it all. Your team can collaborate with the business when needed and keep the lights on but that split in focus will result in team confusion, poor execution, and project delays.
When your team has dual responsibilities, it is difficult to set priorities. Having equally important tasks will have your team switching roles throughout the day without effectively focusing on one. Without a clear purpose for your department team members will become reactive and focus on putting out immediate fires instead of working towards the future.
So as the IT leader you must convince your boss of the following:
- For your team to support the business a clear vision of technology success has to be outlined with the IT team at its core.
- Technology decisions cannot be left to business units without IT involved. The security risks are too high, and the high probability of duplication of systems and thus costs is likely.
- You should explain that you need to hire tech experts focused on innovation, problem solving and collaboration. Solutions for outsourcing routine mundane tasks are available, and many are less costly and more secure than performing the work in house.
As an IT leader it’s up to you to position your team to have the biggest impact on your organization’s strategic goals.