The Changing Role of IT: From Reactive to Proactive

By on July 25, 2017

This is a Microsoft Office-sponsored post

By Brian Moran

I recently watched an informative video from the team at Office 365 on the changing role of IT in business today as companies migrate to the cloud. This topic, as well as related discussions, can be found all over the Internet as organizations try to get a better handle on how technology is disrupting their businesses as well as their industries.

In the video, host Tom Batcheler talks with Brian Levenson, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Office 365, on how IT’s role is rapidly changing in companies of all sizes. Levenson states that, in innovative companies, IT is moving beyond dealing with maintenance issues to focus on how technology is helping companies achieve their overall objectives. Today, IT leaders are using products such as Office 365 to work on daily tech tasks and automating services as their roles shift within the company.

According to Dennis Giles of Advocate Healthcare, implementing Office 365 has definitely helped with their workforce productivity and prioritization. “Rather than solving technical issues, we can focus more on solving organizational and business issues.”

One of the major obstacles for companies moving to the cloud is the fact that 80% of employees admit to using non-sanctioned devices for office use. This puts a tremendous burden on the company and IT to protect their data during and after the digital transformation while still allowing employees to get their work done.  

I believe another challenge for IT is that innovative technology today has fundamentally changed corporate infrastructures. Silos between departments are being torn down and replaced with open platforms that allow for greater collaboration as well as accountability. The new corporate focus is customer-centric; it’s all about delivering a better customer experience throughout the buyer journey. To that end, every department within an organization will be charged with running a more efficient and effective operation.

I agree with Levenson that IT departments in 2017 need to be more proactive rather than reactive. By 2020, these same departments will have shifted from proactive to predictive groups. They will know what the customer wants before the customer knows. The foundation for these changes is built on technology. Every business, whether it’s B2B or B2C, is a technology business. Tech is the driving force behind creating a better customer experience and enabling companies to maximize potential opportunities. This makes the role of an IT department critical to a company’s success.

One last takeaway I had from the interview with Brian Levenson is that, going forward, the cloud will play a central role for almost all innovative companies. There are too many features and benefits, especially for small to midsize companies, for the cloud to be ignored by businesses stuck in 20th century thinking. Making this change happen is an excellent example of an IT department being more proactive within their company.

In my next post, I will discuss part II of the Office365 video, an interview with Anne Michels from Microsoft on how their product is helping IT departments simplify complex tasks while increasing efficiency and productivity.

About Brian Moran

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was the Executive Director of Sales Development at the Wall Street Journal where he oversaw the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands. From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group.

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