Why IT Departments Should No Longer Exist

Written By: Kyler Cheatham
Date: September 16, 2022

The role of the IT department has changed dramatically over the past few years. IT or information technology has traditionally been siloed to just the technical aspects and services of the organization. However, with the rise of digital transformation, IT has become integral to almost every area of business. From marketing and sales to product development and customer service, IT is now involved in almost everything.

With this increased importance, IT departments can no longer be siloed from the rest of the organization. They need to be integrated into the business as a whole to be truly effective. This means that the traditional model of the IT department, with its hierarchical structure and focus on technology, needs to be abandoned.

Here are three reasons why IT departments should no longer exist:

1. They Silo Information

IT departments traditionally silo information. This is done for two reasons: first, to protect the organization's data, and second, to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. However, this siloing of information can do more harm than good.

When information is siloed, it can't be properly leveraged by the organization as a whole. This leads to inefficiencies and wasted opportunities. For example, if the marketing team has some data that could be useful to the sales team, but the IT department has siloed the information, then the sales team won't be able to access it and use it to their advantage.

2. They're Focused on Technology, Not Business

IT departments are traditionally focused on technology, not the business. This means that they're more concerned with keeping the organization's IT infrastructure running smoothly than they are with supporting the business goals of the organization.

However, in today's digital world, technology and business are inseparable. IT needs to be focused on supporting the business goals of the organization, not just on keeping the technology running.

Skillsets are also very focused on technology within IT. This is slowly changing, with more and more business-focused roles appearing within IT departments. However, there's still a long way to go. For example, many IT departments still don't have dedicated product managers or user experience designers. These are roles that are essential for any organization that wants to be successful in the digital world.

3. They're Hierarchical

IT departments are traditionally hierarchical, with a clear chain of command and a strict set of rules and procedures. This can lead to inflexibility and a lack of innovation.

In today's rapidly changing world, organizations need to be able to adapt quickly to change. This means that they need to be more flexible and agile, and the hierarchical structure of IT departments can prevent this.

This starts with the CIO. The modern CIO should be a main business executive, not just the person that fixes all computers. This means that they need to be involved in strategic decision-making, not just operational tasks.

The CIO should also have a direct line of reporting to the CEO so that they're on the same level as other senior executives. This will help to break down the silos between IT and the rest of the organization and allow for better communication and collaboration.

In conclusion, IT departments should no longer exist in their current form. They need to be abolished and replaced with something new. This new model needs to be focused on the business, not just technology. It also needs to be more flexible and agile, so that it can adapt to the ever-changing digital world.

So, what should organizations do instead of having an IT department?

There are a few different options. One is to integrate IT into the business as a whole. This means that IT would be involved in all aspects of the business, from marketing and sales to product development and customer service.

Create a new architecture of "Business Technology"

Another option is to create a new model of "business technology." This would be a cross-functional team that's responsible for both the business and the technology. This team would work closely together to ensure that the technology is supporting the business goals. Or, do away with IT departments altogether.

This department would feature a tier of Business Technologist roles that would focus on fewer technology aspects such as communication, user adoption, and engagement. These technologist roles would be focused on developing business cases for technology investments and managing the portfolios of these technologies.

This team would also include a tier of traditional IT roles such as system administrators and application developers. However, these roles would be focused on delivering business value, not just keeping the lights on.

Organization Change should be an IT priority

IT departments need to prioritize organizational change management strategies. They need to break down the silos between IT and the rest of the organization. They also need to work closely with other departments to understand their needs and goals.

Only by making these changes will IT departments be able to move away from their traditional focus on technology and become true business partners.

Normalizing OCM initiatives will also help create a company culture of transformation that embraces new technology or processes efficiencies as an opportunity, rather than a threat. Doing so can make all the difference in a company's ability to succeed in the digital age.

Creates more opportunities for employees to access technology-focused positions

Evolving from "Information Technology" to "Business Technology" opens the doors to upskilling employees or mining additional opportunities for less technical stakeholders to thrive in a technology-based role. Offering these positions to employees can keep your company's transformation top of mind, as well as provide opportunities for those who want to make the switch into a role with a more technical focus.

This migration will create more opportunities for employees thus leading to greater job satisfaction and a smaller chance of turnover. It will also position the company as an employer of choice in the technology industry, which can help with recruiting top talent.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of this transition?

Advantages:

-IT departments will be able to focus on the business, not just technology

-This new model will be more flexible and agile, so it can adapt to the ever-changing digital world

-There will be more opportunities for employees to access technology-focused positions

Disadvantages:

-This transition could be difficult for some organizations

-IT departments may need to change their culture and mindset to be successful

-There could be a loss of control for IT departments if they are not careful.

In conclusion

The advantages of evolving from "Information Technology" to "Business Technology" seem to outweigh the disadvantages. This transition will allow IT departments to focus on the business, be more flexible and agile, and create more opportunities for employees. Although this transformation could be difficult for some organizations, it seems that the benefits would be worth it in the long run.

So... What do you think? Is it time for IT departments to be abolished? Or, should they be reformed to better meet the needs of the modern organization? I'd love to hear your feedback directly, kyler.cheatham@thirdstage-consulting.com.

I also highly recommend downloading our newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Reports to explore the future of enterprise technology in more detail!

Author:
Kyler Cheatham
Kyler Cheatham is a digital artist and innovator who is always thinking of new ways to improve the world around her. As the Global Marketing Director at Third Stage Consulting, she uses her creativity and tech-savvyness to help businesses reach their target audiences. Kyler is also a thought leader in the digital marketing space, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others. She is also a mother of two young children, which has given her a unique perspective on balancing work and family life.
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