One can look at this topic two ways – as a CEO considering the IT Department or the IT Manager with a wish list. There could be similar aspects and there probably are quite diverse aspects to their ideal.
One aspect where both parties are most likely to agree is, IT is no longer present to just implement and maintain technology but to assess how technology can assist the organisation and determine suitable options to achieve the goals.
Technology should no longer be an “evil art” or Pandora’s Box or something to be only understood by the techies and geeks behind the closed door. With the rise of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) the average person has a far better understanding of technology than they ever did before and are demanding more from the available technology than they ever did. BYOD itself is presenting issues for the IT Department which they did not previously have to deal with. So there is a lot of change going on.
The first and key factor in developing the ideal IT department is to partner with the rest of the organisation. Build relationships, understand the other departments, what they do, what they need to get their job done and meet their goals.
Cloud computing is also having an impact on IT operations and how the department is perceived. This can become a real positive for in-house IT. Outsource the infrastructure issues and the associated maintenance and you have IT personnel who are free to really understand business requirements, investigate appropriate solutions, integrate them into the business environment and have the time to educate users in the effective use of applications. IT can also work with all the data being accumulated, do appropriate analysis and provide reporting which is meaningful and allows the business to progress. Switching to the cloud can result in a far more productive use of IT know-how.
Operating in a cloud environment, the IT department is also in the best position to provide the synergy and balance between externally provided services and internal services.
Giving IT the ability to be creative, yes creative, encourages innovation. An innovative way of using the available technology could well produce a point of difference, a new strategy and provide that competitive edge.
No longer working in isolation, integral to the planning and operations of the organisation, proactive rather than just reacting to requests – this is the ideal IT department. The IT department which ensures its future in a world where technology is critical to business success.