How to create internal support for real change in your IT department

Karel van Zeeland
Karel van Zeeland
In organisations of every stripe, IT departments are finding themselves in a squeeze: juggling rapid market changes, pressure to meet faster turnarounds and demands from above to cut costs. Unsurprisingly, then, IT transformations are high on the agenda, in order to create the efficiencies and cohesion needed across the IT landscape to meet these business demands.
 
But, despite the undeniable need to improve ways of working, software and systems, securing the support and, crucially, the funding for an IT transformation is far from simple.
 
More and more CFOs demand full transparency surrounding the investment made in IT. However, providing such transparency and being able to explain exactly where, and why, IT funding is spent is almost impossible in the complex, patchwork IT landscape of legacy systems that many businesses find themselves in.
 
Senior IT managers don’t have the insights needed and executive IT professionals’ hands-on roles don’t give them this broad overview either. Instead, they’re focused on their own operations and innovation opportunities. They have neither the drive or capacity to know what exactly is being used, for what – or what it costs.
 
Creating support for restructuring and improving IT starts with understanding the world of your peers and employees, whichever layer of the organisation you may find yourself in.
 
In this post, we’ll outline some tips for employees at both levels, as well as a unifying Reference Architecture: IT4IT™ that makes transparency achievable and unlocks the potential for change in the process. ¹
 
 

Senior managements’ role in fostering an environment of support

Empathy, that is getting into the shoes of others and understanding what they need and want, must be applied above, across and down by senior managers. In doing so, partnerships of mutual respect and understanding will be forged.
 
Take your peers across other departments of the business, they want to excel and provide their end-users with the best quality services and experiences – and they need your technology and expertise to make that happen.
 
Meanwhile, the employees within your IT department need to see the tangible benefits of streamlining and restructuring. They need your reassurance and leadership to understand that, while it will be a long process to untie existing knots, better IT management, smoother operations and more opportunity for innovation lies on the other side. Which will result in their work becoming less repetitive, more interesting and contributing better to value for the business and happier customers. So, while they will have some extra work in the interim, there is a prize to be gained.
 
Above, senior business leaders, in particular the CFO, require that transparency and accountability mentioned previously. Of course, you need to feel empowered and trusted to make the right decisions for your IT department but that comes via the ability to provide real-time insights and a big picture of where the department is at, how it’s transforming and what you need to get it there.
 
 

How executive employees can trigger change

If you’re working at the executive level of IT, it’s likely that some of your peers aren’t much interested in structure and process. Instead, they’re focused on doing their jobs as best they can, creating new solutions when possible and not having too much of a headache in the process!
 
However, if you do see that change is necessary, try to make this tangible for your peers: share examples of how things could be better with a reworked IT structure and management framework in place – focusing specifically on their role and capability. Gathering support from your colleagues across the IT department can generate change from the ground up.
 
Approaching senior management to convince them of a need for change requires a different approach. You need to speak their language and cover their priority areas: budget, results and ROI, and offer complete transparency. Understand that your seniors are accountable to their seniors for what you deliver, how fast you deliver it and at what cost. If you can translate the practical situation on the work floor to the language of upper management, you can play a key role in creating real change for your department. 
 
 

Achieving transparency with IT4IT

Each of the approaches outlined for fostering internal support and triggering real change are underpinned by one thing: transparency. However, transparency requires an established IT structure and management approach that many IT departments just don’t have. Nor is it something they can implement organically.
 
They need a framework to get them there: IT4IT. The implementation of IT4IT-based approach to managing the business of IT leads to the charting of every system, practice, license and contract that is in use across the entire IT management landscape. In doing so, it brings to light any dependencies, hindrances and associated costs. Ultimately, allowing senior management to drive a successful digital transformation and make informed decisions about which systems to keep and which to eliminate.
 
Implementing IT4IT does take time and effort. However, through the charting of the IT landscape and unearthing of superfluous systems, practices and licenses, the elimination process leads to significant cost savings and a much easier way going forward.
 
Learn more about how IT4IT can help you gain internal support for restructuring and increase transparency? Download our latest whitepaper: Increasing the value and unity of your IT department
 
 
[1] IT4IT is a trademark of The Open Group
 
Increasing the value and unity of your IT department