Joe Strangarone, President of MRC, just wrote an article on 5 obstacles that hold IT departments back in which I have a few quotes. The article deals with challenges businesses face with supporting their IT department.
“IT is constantly evolving and leading a team to navigate through that constant change is essential to maintain success,” says Chris Hood. “Budget, vision and management also have a part in developing a poor team. If a business doesn’t place emphasis on their IT team, or there is a low / no budget to hire new talent, the entire organization will suffer. I’ve had several conversations with companies about the size of their IT teams. The belief that 2-3 employees can manage the entire operation is usually a huge red flag. I often suggest to companies to set a goal of 10% – 20% of their workforce should be dedicated to IT. A company of 100 should easily have 10-15 employees focused on IT. However when the business wants to cut corners on cost, it’s usually in IT, creating an overworked team that is not in a position to be successful or help the company be successful. Lack of budget also means the company typically hire entry level, or individuals with little experience. Investing time, energy and resources in building the right team will help remove blockades.”
If you are in charge of an IT team, directly or indirectly, please go read. Joe puts together a great list, and I have 2 more for you to consider.
Lack of Vision
Numerous businesses lack vision for their IT department. This may sound a little odd, considering it’s usually the business that should have a mission statement and vision; however, everyone relies on technology in today’s world. A lot of businesses get confused about who they are. I once consulted with a company and asked the leadership team to outline their business type. I heard all of the obvious answers, but no one suggested they were a technology company. Although they may not have been solely technology-driven at their core, all businesses today must be a technology company with a strong digital presence and strategy. This lack of vision often disconnects what the company needs to accomplish and the IT department supporting the business’ needs. The less emphasis placed on the importance of the IT department, the more bottlenecks we encounter.
If your head of IT is not aligned with the organization’s head, there will 100% always be issues. This may seem easy to solve. Unfortunately, it is not. We know that good leadership comes from hiring “experts” to do their job. The successful CEOs hire CTO’s to manage the company’s technology, or the Manager hires the IT lead for their expertise and experience to allow the company to be successful. The sad reality of all companies, not every person in a leadership role is successful at managing people. With technology as relevant in all of our lives today, everyone has become an expert. When leadership believes they know better, or when egos get in the way of productivity, everyone loses. Having non-technical individuals lead technical individuals creates a ton of friction in the department, often generating needless work, stress, and complications. Whether it comes in micromanagement or management who go around the IT process, or simply the lack of understanding, poor leadership is the death knell for an IT team.
Although we could probably add a few more to this list, what do you think are the IT departments’ biggest obstacles? Share your thoughts in the comments below!