Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of IT
Switchboard Feb 11
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“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”
Any evolutionary biologist can tell you that survivability requires adaptability. And this is also true of the IT department. Technology is evolving as we know it and in order to keep up with businesses’ evolving needs, we must re-examine the structure of our department teams.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the downfall of IT departments entitled “It’s Time to Get Rid of the IT Department,” in which Joe Peppard, principal research scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management, declares that IT departments are for a “bygone era”. Now, before you grab your pitchforks, Peppard goes on to say that instead, IT should be a fundamental part of each business unit.
Our world is becoming increasingly more digitized and data-driven. Technology is no longer a separate entity from the business, it’s a “competitive necessity,” and real-time access to information by all departments is more important now than ever before for strategic decision-making. This is where the IT department has become a bottleneck to growth.
Oftentimes, executives from different departments have to wait on information from the IT department to make timely business decisions. And oftentimes, that information is received too late. The department has become an inefficient allocation of human resources with people scrambling to delegate and prioritize projects.
But that doesn’t mean IT is unimportant – quite the opposite. As Peppard mentions, IT plays a significant role in the strategic mission of modern organizations. However, it will have to adapt and evolve alongside the digital transformation companies are experiencing if it wants to optimize efficiency.
Peppard suggests doing so by breaking up the IT department and distributing its tech expertise and knowledge across all departments in order to enable faster decision-making, greater visibility and shared ownership.
That way, we can envision a future where marketing, sales, revenue, analytics, and even the CEO will have direct access to tech and data experts without waiting for a single department to respond to their requests. This distributed network of IT professionals will be more responsive to the strategic goals of each division, allowing for more agile growth.
As this trend continues, organizations will be more dynamic, responsive to customer needs, and profitable. We look forward to seeing how this disruptive yet necessary change continues to evolve.
Just ask Darwin.
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