In many organizations, the IT department is invisible until something goes wrong. Calls are made, tickets are logged, and the question “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” is thrown around like episode of The IT Crowd.
But fixing computer-related problems and updating software is just the tip of the iceberg. In today’s world, the IT department must juggle several important responsibilities that provide both the security and the level of functionality required by modern businesses.
Read on to learn more about the behind-the-scenes responsibilities IT is expected to deal with on a daily basis. The next time you’re tempted to vent in the group chat about yet another network outage, you might want to ask yourself if it’s because they could use a bit more help.
More Than a Help Desk: The Three Major Functions of IT
Broadly speaking, the role of an IT Department can be broken down into three main functions:
- Governance, which includes developing policies on how, and for what purposes employees can use company technology. These guidelines are often established to support cybersecurity and data integrity.
- Infrastructure, which refers to the physical hardware and networking components needed to support an organization’s needs. This includes the deployment and maintenance of servers, network cables, wireless access points, and everything in between.
- Functionality, which is the most visible of the three – creating and maintaining applications, storing data, and assisting end-users with software and hardware issues.
David Cotgreave, in an op-ed for CIO Magazine, effectively explains that
“Just about every business today relies on IT. In fact, most rely on IT to the extent that IT no longer simply supports business - In most cases, IT now IS the business. Essential, indispensable and inextricably linked to successful business outcomes.”
The Many Hats of IT in Today’s Businesses
Beyond supporting a businesses’ technical requirements and providing help desk support, IT departments are increasingly being relied upon to help drive business growth by leveraging technology and information in an efficient and secure manner.
The more an organization falls behind on maintenance and upgrading, the more resources IT must dedicate to troubleshooting and putting out fires, making it difficult (if not impossible) to be proactive in the following areas.
With organizations falling prey to data breaches, hackers, and viruses, cybersecurity issues are in the news and getting attention.
Whether employing up-to-date security tools and technologies, meeting with top-level executives to develop and implement security policies, or grappling with the challenges created by Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workplaces, IT departments are always concerned with staying on top of security.
Data drives business, and IT departments are being tasked with finding new ways to capture, store, manage, and analyze the data that users depend on. In addition to keeping corporate information such as market research, financial records, and customer data safe, IT departments are often tasked with finding novel ways to analyze data and produce insights to inform decision-making.
Deploying and operating the hardware and systems required to maintain connectivity is a key duty for IT departments. This also includes configuring protocols, developing secure access solutions for external parties, and ensuring the system remains online with a minimum of interruptions.
With technology an essential part of today’s businesses, IT leaders are (ideally) working with executives to develop an IT strategy that aligns with an organization’s core objectives. This could involve employing new analytical tools, implementing a new CRM system, or outsourcing additional IT services to free up internal resources.
Related Blog: When Technology and the Legal Field Converge
When you consider the constant work it takes to maintain and upgrade all the related systems that support the level of on-demand connectivity we take for granted, it’s no wonder many businesses are starting to realize the level of expertise and knowledge (and of course, patience) necessary to ensure top-notch service.
Is your organization struggling to elevate its IT beyond service calls, tickets, and daily maintenance? Outsourcing certain IT functions to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can free up resources to focus on what really matters: meeting goals, increasing revenue, and managing growth.
If you would like to learn more about what to consider when shopping for an MSP, you can download this free ebook that covers 10 tips from IT experts.
Because in today’s world, IT affects every part of your business, and should be an active partner in driving it forward.