Many CIOs and IT managers today feel powerless when it comes to managing technology expenses that come from sources outside of their department’s IT budget. If the sales team decides they want to invest in training tools to improve the onboarding and overall efficiency of salespeople, or if finance is developing a forecasting application on their own and their respective budgets are sufficient to cover it. costs, the CIO often cannot stop them.

But mobile devices and SaaS applications eventually need to integrate and exchange data with the company’s IT infrastructure, and that’s when IT will need to step in. Adding devices and developing new applications can also put a company’s digital assets at risk, and this is a major IT concern.

The key is to strike a balance between business and IT requirements so that business units and IT are always working together. Try to collaborate on the side of the coin, and not toss the coin, when it comes to saying “Yes” or “No” to an IT request.

When the CIO can’t say no

When the CIO can’t approve or deny purchases from their organization’s business units, there is still room to control the governance of applications and devices. To find that perfect balance, work closely with business leaders and empathize with the needs of their end users. Always remember: these are your customers.

Then discuss the IT governance issues. If the IT department tries to manage both business unit needs and IT implications, the process will fail. End users will always find a way to sneak around you. It is best to form a partnership where both parties seek IT solutions that meet the necessary criteria for everyone in the business.

As the chief technology officer for an organization over $ 500 million, I haven’t tried to limit what business units can do. Instead, we proactively seek to partner with them to understand what they’re trying to do and communicate the considerations from an IT perspective. We seek to enable them to deploy the software and hardware they need while ensuring that all IT issues are addressed.

We also want to identify redundancies between business units and maintain efficiency by sharing IT resources between business units where possible. This is a bit tricky in our case, because through acquisitions over the years, we have several unique lines of business. This forces us to be agile from an IT point of view; we don’t want to hold anyone back, but we have to make sure that governance is in place for any new technologies that are deployed.

To achieve this goal, we try to continuously improve the services we offer and maintain excellent relationships with all business units. We ask that they think of us early, long before adding laptops, printers and apps. We say “Yes” to meet business goals, but we also consider IT implications. This is how we can make decisions together.

Three examples of IT collaboration with business units

Three recent examples come to mind demonstrating how an IT team has worked effectively with various business units:

A business unit wanted to add more cloud offerings (hosted and white label) that required proof of concept across multiple technologies. He tested some of them through their IT team and others through a third party. Then their team coordinated the tests together and provided feedback. Neither department wanted to share the work because it’s not about who knows more, but rather who doesn’t know what they need to know.

Another business unit proposed doubling spending on laptops specifically designed for around 50+ end users, as they felt the more expensive devices would be more efficient for business users and improve return on investment. This department met with the IT team to discuss their needs, put each team member on the same page, and ensure the right assets were being implemented. By helping this group choose a third alternative, the IT team proactively avoided a case where laptops would not work after being handed over to employees.

An HR team acquired new recruiting software through an acquisition without the direct involvement of its IT team. When the software was not performing optimally, HR reached out to IT to help provide support, create workflows, and maintain the software. The IT department also took charge of licensing and supplier relations. Now, when they need new software or hardware, they go to IT first.

These are just a few of the many examples that an IT team may encounter on a regular basis. By communicating with business unit leaders, they know IT is there to help them first solve their problems, and then to make sure that whatever technology they choose will perform as intended and perform well in their business. our environment.

Adopt an empowerment philosophy

Obviously, empowerment can be a really effective IT philosophy. IT always wants to be a part of any technology initiative, but conflict can prevent an IT team from getting to a situation quickly enough. In this case, forward-thinking IT teams should strive to make their business units feel empowered and able to continue. IT should be the YES office, not the NO office. The IT department does not need a veto, but needs to be able to resolve conflicts and then come to an agreement on governance, security, end-user support, training and requirements based. on roles.

By talking to those in charge of your business unit, you can also avoid IT problems while allowing end users to do their jobs better and ensuring that your digital infrastructure remains secure and functioning optimally. You can play the role of performing checks and balances to determine whether technology purchases are suitable for the business and play a more strategic role in day-to-day operations.

Scott Moody is Vice President, IT, for Carousel Industries.


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