Is Your IT Team Contributing to the Business?

- Mike Dorris

Working for a company that provides business software solutions, I get to work with a number of information technology (IT) teams. Through the years, I’ve come to realize that most IT teams can be split into two distinct groups: those that are really engaged and an integral part of the business, and those that are there to buy new computers and make sure email works.

Generally speaking, how integrated an IT team is to the rest of the business is dependent on the personality of the IT director. Some are very proactive, continually conducting research and seeking answers and working to find solutions; others are more reactive and wait for a need to be brought to them and then, they look to see what exists.

I often wonder if company leaders know what they are missing out on when their IT team falls into the latter group. There are so many “cool” widgets that are out there that can help leaders get the information when they need it and where they need it, and there are real solutions that put business critical information at their fingertips.

Don’t let a status quo attitude hold you and your company back, especially in this age of technology.

The most successful IT teams are always out of the office talking to customers, sales representatives, software vendors and those in the workforce. They bring new ideas and new software solutions to the table and show what options exist that might be of most benefit to the company and its customers, suppliers and vendors.

Good software vendors don’t just sell a piece of software and then disappear; a software vendor should work to become a trusted, long-term partner that teams with the company and its IT department. The goal is to listen and then help find, define and solve current and future issues and challenges.

These IT partnerships and solutions become even more critical for larger companies with offices and facilities in a number of locations. You need a way to track, collect and report data in the same way across all your sites. You need to be able to easily pull reports and look at the metrics without having to rely on someone else to compile it for you.

Everyone talks about giving farmers real-time data and making it available in the palm of their hand, but I have to ask: Are you giving yourself access to real-time business data? If not, why? Might you be waiting for a recommendation from your IT team?