With businesses around the world undergoing digital transformation, IT is being regarded less as a reactive function and more as a proactive one
This is reflected in Pulsant’s latest research which reveals that over half (53%) of business leaders now view innovation as the main value of IT. What’s more, 46% now see the role of IT as an enabler for the rest of the business.
Business leaders who are only just seeing IT in this new light might well be wondering what they can do to support the team with its newfound responsibilities. This requires an understanding of the barriers facing IT teams, and how these can be broken down to enable a more proactive approach.
Critical tools for the age of remote working
Currently, the vast majority of organisations have empty office spaces due to the need to work from home. Therefore, business leaders are under even greater pressure to get the best out of their staff, particularly those where technology plays a key role. With teams across an organisation now relying on the expertise of the IT function to access tools from home, business leaders need to assess which technologies are readily available and ensure processes are in place for IT staff to manage platforms such as the business’s virtual private network and desktop infrastructure.
While many remote tools were implemented out of necessity in 2020, the continued support from business leaders to use these technologies in 2021 and beyond will allow the IT function to streamline applications. This will allow them to facilitate a truly flexible working environment, helping to increase productivity among those who continue to work from home long after the pandemic is over. This will simultaneously allow IT staff to balance the management of remote tools while continuing to innovate current processes across the wider business.
Rolling out cloud and compliance applications
On the agenda for the IT function over the next year is the adoption and development of public cloud applications to drive speed of deployment and capacity (38%), with a similar focus on private cloud for specific SLAs and the protection of valuable business data (37%). Through investment in these technologies, business leaders can ensure agility within the organisation and allow the IT function to place focus on driving innovation projects across other areas of the business, safe in the knowledge that the cloud is helping to automate processes and facilitating business continuity measures. The introduction of data regulations such as GDPR and its resulting amendments in the UK after Brexit means that IT staff have a wealth of new and potentially confusing information to process while ensure their organisations remain compliant. In fact, our research showed that nearly two-thirds of IT decision-makers felt like they were under increasing pressure in the last 12 months from a growing expectation at board level to innovate processes in areas such as compliance.
In addition, 27% of IT staff express concern about maintaining effective compliance and security arrangements in their organisation. Therefore business leaders therefore need to ensure a sufficient level of investment is in place to allow the IT function to not only meet compliance requirements but improve innovation in the business by exceeding them and implementing next-generation cybersecurity arrangements.
Recognising the personal toll on IT workers
While it’s clear that investment and access to the right technology can enable IT functions to drive innovation in their organisations, business leaders also need to appreciate the increased pressure and strain that this has placed on IT staff. Your people are your most important assets because they will ultimately determine the success or failure of your business and this is becomingly increasingly important within the IT function as it is seen as the enabler if innovation, driving the business forward.
Business leaders can provide support to their IT employees by ensuring they receive sufficient training in their role, along with enabling them to receive regular performance and salary reviews while achieving a healthy work-life balance. As more organisations look to develop their IT staff as both caretakers and innovators in their field, ensuring their personal development is key during this time of growing pressure across the industry.
About the Author
Simon Michie is CTO at Pulsant. Pulsant are the UK’s hybrid cloud specialists, providing secure, scalable and resilient cloud, colocation and networking services to help organisations reach their digital goals. Pulsant connects organisations to a secure, scalable IT infrastructure and the UK’s digital edge through a national network of data centres and cloud platforms to navigate continuous digital disruption and accelerate growth.