How does an IT team create business value?

No one saves the day like the IT team. When internal systems are not functioning, networks are down, or someone needs help installing complex software, you are there to help. You ensure that the business continues to run smoothly with minimal interruptions.

But IT teams add significant value in many ways that are not as obvious — such as security, productivity, and connectedness. Your goals directly impact the success of the organization by enabling everyone to work smarter and faster with the right technology.

You know that your work is valuable — but this might not always be apparent to others. You mostly operate behind the scenes. If no one notices any technology issues, it probably means you are doing a great job. The downside to this is that your contributions may be overlooked.

Helping your peers better understand the dynamic work you do is an overall win. Your team's value will be more visible, and others will learn how they can work with you to solve strategic problems. You can start building this level of understanding by outlining the full scope of IT responsibilities.

Plan and share your IT strategy ->

The role of the IT team in the organization

An IT team's main objective is to support the organization's core capabilities with technology. This objective is carried out through three main areas of responsibility: IT planning, IT infrastructure, and IT functionality. Several specific components fall into each area — all of which serve to sustain the business and generate value.

IT planning

IT planning encompasses all of the ways that you determine future business impact — from setting your strategy to practical plans for actually delivering on your goals.

Elements of IT planning can include:

  • Vision and strategy: What you want to achieve and the direction you will take to get there.

  • Goals and initiatives: Measurable, time-bound objectives and the high-level efforts needed to reach them.

  • Budgets: Recurring expenses, maintenance estimates, and any future technology investments.

  • Technology roadmap: Visualization of your IT plan that help balance workloads and communicate your progress to other teams.

  • Governance: Rules and configurations for how company technology should be used.

An example Gantt-style roadmap created in Aha! Roadmaps

IT infrastructure

All of the equipment, software, and network components that the organization uses to get things done are IT infrastructure. You and your team members are responsible for researching, implementing, and managing the use of all of these tools.

IT infrastructure often includes:

  • Communication and collaboration tools: Typically cloud-based tools that allow the members of the organization to store and share files and communicate via email or messaging.

  • Data loss prevention (DLP) and security tools: Programs that help you monitor the flow of data and keep business information secure.

  • Hardware: Physical equipment that supports company operations such as keyboards, monitors, gateways, and laptop or desktop computers.

  • Software: Any applications that teams regularly use to complete their work.

  • Technology stack: The combination of programming languages, services, and software that support the organization's applications or development projects.

IT functionality

IT functionality is the most commonly known area of responsibility. It refers to maintaining operation of all IT infrastructure components and assisting people with any technology issues.

Specific responsibilities within IT functionality include:

  • Tech support: Addressing technical issues and requests, installing software, repairing hardware, and training people to use the organization's IT systems.

  • Operations: Implementing essential updates, monitoring system statuses, and identifying areas for greater efficiency.

  • Security: Protecting the business from from internal and external threats by securing devices and networks.

Most enterprise organizations will have a need for an IT department that covers all three core areas of responsibility. But depending on the organizational structure and types of technology used to get work done, there may be multiple types of IT teams within the company.

Beyond these core responsibilities and functions, you can break things down even further by individual IT job titles. IT teams can include specific roles for architecture, network and system administration, business analysis, and even project managers that all contribute meaningful value to the department and the organization.

How IT teams contribute value to an organization

The value that you generate is both strategic and tactical. From technology-centric competitive advantages to minor software improvements, here are some of the most important ways that IT contributes value to an organization:

IT-business alignment

IT-business alignment is the practice of coordinating IT strategy with the overall business. This underpins all of the ways that IT contributes value — instead of a siloed team with narrow responsibilities, IT should be viewed as a decentralized, strategic asset to help drive progress on business goals.

Innovation

Staying innovative as a business requires tools that support moving quickly and dynamically. And choosing the right technology can play an important role in gaining market share or outpacing competitors. You help ensure that technology is at least current, if not cutting-edge.

Security and compliance
Cybersecurity attacks can disrupt business operations or worse, expose team members and customers to malicious software and data theft. IT teams work hard to maintain strong security practices, identify threats, and mitigate risks.

Productivity

IT teams lay the foundation for modern organizations to get work done. Without reliable tools for communication, cloud-based collaboration, and data storage, it would be difficult to make any real progress. But you also identify opportunities to implement better tools and automated processes which can all improve productivity and cross-functional efficiency.

Communication

All modern businesses rely on digital communication like email, instant messaging, and video calls. Managing these tools is an essential way that you provide value. The IT team itself can also be a communication center for the company through IT idea management.

Technical support

Implementing, updating, and repairing technology is an essential way that you drive value. But the value of tech support is not just fixing things when they break — you serve as a go-to resource for technology-related questions. Many teams even take a proactive approach with self-service documentation and training.

IT teams are multi-faceted. Everything you do contributes to getting business done faster and more securely. You can plan and show this value with the right goals, roadmaps, and tools.

Demonstrate the value of your IT projects with a roadmap.

How to communicate the value of IT through roadmapping

Sales revenue and shipped features are straightforward to show — but communicating IT value is more complex. You can heighten others' perception of your work with practices like:

  • Setting measurable goals and KPIs to show the impact of strategic initiatives.

  • Building IT roadmaps to clearly visualize your strategy and demonstrate how and when your IT plan is being implemented.

  • Using purpose-built software to track and communicate progress to other teams.

What does this look like in practice? It will vary for each organization and IT team, but you can start thinking about how to measure and demonstrate the value of your work with these examples.

Examples of demonstrating IT value

  • IT-business alignment: Use roadmapping software to link your IT goals to overall company goals. As you build towards greater alignment, you will see how your work directly impacts progress.

  • Innovation: Demonstrate your pivotal role in implementing modern methodologies like Agile and DevOps by mapping out the entire technology rollout process as feature releases.

  • Security and compliance: Use an IT roadmap to portray all of the activities that go into minimizing breaches and compliance failures — from training and certifications to implementing processes for device security.

  • Productivity: Outline how new integrations will save time and make it simpler to collaborate, then share this with the broader company.

  • Communication: Create IT ideas portals to collect feedback and requests. When you choose ideas to implement, communicate with stakeholders throughout the process.

  • Technical support: Track the number of help desk tickets and average time to resolution. Report on your progress over time to show the impact of new processes, tools, or documentation.

There is no question that your team creates business value. And broadening this view for others will help you become a better strategic partner within the organization.

IT teams need great technology, too — sign up for a free 30-day trial of Aha! Roadmaps to visualize your strategy, manage ideas, build an IT roadmap, and measure results all in one place.

Read next:

Sign up today!
Start your 30 day trial. No credit card required.
© 2021 Aha! Labs Inc.All rights reserved