IT departments can no longer be island nations unto themselves within their corporate continent. Because the enterprise depends on technology to function and grow, the CIO and IT staff have to be integrated into the daily business, and they have to help plan its future.
How important is integration to mid-size companies? Without it, the middle market is done for. It’s vital that this corporate group stay up-to-date with the IT market. But, while full-scale integration is a difficult process, it is also one that your mid-size company is especially adaptable to. Read on to find out why the mid-size business is conveniently capable of IT integration.
In this four-part series, TechRepublic examines the top IT trends that will affect mid-size companies and shows managers how to use them to their advantage.Part 1: What IT trends will impact your mid-size business?
The tide has turned: IT is now a fact of business
In the past, decision makers forced processes on the IT operations, said Richard L. Ptak, the VP of systems and applications development for Hurwitz Group , an analyst/consultant firm specializing in business-to-business strategic consulting around e-business initiatives. This approach to introducing new technology was directive-driven. Today, these discussions take place cohesively in an environment in which the IT department is able to discuss the challenges and business goals with other key executives.
For technology deployment to take place so that business goals are achieved with the integrated use of technology, said Ptak, the entire IT team must help business leaders find tools to:
- Create products and services
- Create better returns on opportunities
- Contribute to and enhance top-line business revenue
"This is an inversion of the IT infrastructure," Ptak said. "IT used to be at the bottom of the pyramid, hidden behind everything. But they now have more responsibility for delivering solutions that are attractive to the client. This means the IT operations folks need to make their activities understandable to the business managers," said Ptak.
Now, because technology must be integrated into essentially every operation, Ptak said, IT leaders must be able to answer specific business concerns articulately so that those outside their department grasp how these seemingly disparate functions do work in unison.
The mid-size advantage
Mid-size companies have numerous strengths that can be leveraged to their competitive advantage. As Dataquest analyst Bruce Caldwell points out, mid-size enterprises are less invested in specific technologies than the larger established enterprises. "For them to change is not as difficult as it would be for a larger organization with a history behind it," said Caldwell. "They can turn [the IT integration challenge] around and look for the opportunities to work with other companies" and form partnerships for tasks such as distribution or customer service.
"There is a lot of creative thinking that can happen in this space," said Caldwell. "It's really an exciting time. It's possible a mid-size company...might be able to find more strength in their size in terms of their agility."
Linda Dailey Paulson writes frequently about computing and technology topics as a freelance author.If integration is a priority for your mid-size company, please share your experiences by posting a comment below.