Information technology (IT) is used in nearly every business application, but there’s often a disconnect between IT professionals and business leaders regarding top priorities and strategic initiatives.
Information technology can be defined as “the application of technology to solve business or organizational problems on a broad scale.” As the definition suggests, the responsibilities of IT departments can cover everything from device and software management to security and access. Today, IT departments leave a fingerprint on nearly every business process, and their importance will continue to grow as more organizations undergo digital transformation.
This article will discuss three critical concepts of information technology that will help you better understand your IT teams and start taking steps to improve their effectiveness.
When most people think of IT, infrastructure is the first thing that comes to mind. IBM defines IT infrastructure as two core groups of components – hardware and software. IT infrastructure is much more complex than it may seem and can include everything from network management, overseeing data and server centers, and selecting devices and programs.
IT infrastructure is fundamental for user experience, which for business organizations often translates to employee productivity. However, poorly managed networks, incompatible hardware, or outdated software can all impact employee output, so proactive high functioning IT infrastructure is needed that will also help reduce costly data breaches or security incidents.
According to Gartner, IT governance (ITG) is defined as “the processes that ensure the effective and efficient use of IT in enabling an organization to achieve its goals.” ITG is crucial for organizations to create value out of their IT investments. By enforcing IT governance, IT leaders can ensure that projects and resources are correctly allocated, reduce redundancies in the IT environment, and reduce IT costs.
IT governance is most effective when it is composed of six critical components, including:
- Alignment and flexibility – Managing IT portfolio investments ensures business objectives and IT investments are aligned. In addition, governance enables flexibility and responsiveness to address current challenges and adapt to technological innovations.
- Empowered decision-making – Through governance, business leaders are empowered to make objective decisions that improve how IT activities are managed and controlled.
- Balance of resources – Organizations can confidently pursue strategic IT initiatives without budget woes by adequately managing and allocating critical resources.
- Proactive risk management – Risk management is a significant concern in IT, and through IT governance, organizations can play a proactive role in reducing and mitigating IT vulnerabilities.
- Project execution and implementation – Strong IT governance enables organizations to create a framework to prioritize, manage, and execute IT initiatives. In addition, through standardization, leadership is more informed regarding IT initiatives.
- Accountability – Well-deployed governance includes accountability and transparency to enforce responsibilities associated with IT program management.
In addition to infrastructure and governance, IT requires a little human touch. Gartner defines IT operations “as the people and management processes associated with IT service management to deliver the right set of services at the right quality and at competitive costs for customers.” IT operations can include activities such as “daily and routine tasks, such as workload scheduling, creating data backups, restoring systems after outages, and other regular maintenance activities.”
However, because it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for organizations to move to cloud-hosted platforms, which helps reduce facilities management, IT operations responsibilities may shift. In addition, as organizations begin to reallocate resources toward third-party IT solutions, on-site IT operations personnel can better position themselves to prioritize managing and executing IT initiatives.
Information technology applies to virtually every industry. As your business grows, your IT department quickly becomes a non-negotiable expense to protect your data, IT assets, and improve the functionality of your processes.
About the authorJuan Pablo González
Working as Foreworth’s Chief Technical Officer, Juan Pablo (JP) manages the company’s technical strategy. With nearly 20 years of experience in software development, he ensures the development process at Foreworth is meeting its keys objectives and technical requirements.More info →