Stop Managing IT and Start Using IT

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The secret is out – tomorrow’s IT Manager isn’t managing the infrastructure anymore.

And why should she?  She has a mandate to help your business flourish – not just keep the lights on and keep the servers humming.  That stuff has become the basic table stakes for IT leadership. The reality is that there is no strategic advantage or value added with network maintenance – it’s an assumed part of business operations.  It’s crazy to think that your IT Manager would spend valuable time ensuring your business has working electrical outlets or working phone jacks. The same is becoming increasingly true for the IT infrastructure.  The IT Manager’s role is evolving into a true business analyst and change agent … if you’re doing it right.

The first critical move is getting yourself out of the weeds and realizing that any real focus you place on the infrastructure and operating system plumbing of your business isn’t helping you move forward.  The evolution of the IT Manager is about getting away from merely ensuring the technology is working properly to understanding what the technology can achieve for your organization– optimizing the technology for how you do business now.  That kind of activity adds value.  But you cannot stop there.  You shouldn’t want to stop there.

Optimizing technology isn’t enough.

Tomorrow’s IT leader needs think and operate at a higher level of abstraction and strategic thinking; and that means going beyond questions about what the technology “can do” and focusing on the question “what should the technology be doing for the organization?”  And that’s when yesterday’s IT professional stops looking at the data centre or the network components for answers and starts engaging with the business units and executives for opportunities to innovate.  That’s how you get IT truly aligned with strategy.  You need to stop managing backend IT infrastructure and start using it like the commodity it has become.

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