Expectations of IT management have changed fundamentally during the last decade. The proliferation of smartphones with apps that can be downloaded in seconds has caused end users to expect mobility, speed, and convenience in all facets of IT.

Changing demands and a rapidly transforming business environment require an increasingly agile IT department that is aligned with business needs in three key areas:

Uncovering the business value of IT

Effective IT teams identify and resolve problems before they occur while keeping systems running smoothly and securely—feats that are hidden by their very nature. Conversely, if one little thing goes wrong, everyone notices.

A recent report by ITSM tools showed that two-thirds of IT professionals surveyed had the perception that business colleagues think too much money is spent on IT. Another report found that only 9 percent of IT organizations measure performance in terms of business metrics. Clearly, there is a disconnect between the perception of IT and the value it brings to the business.

Misconceptions about the business value of IT can be remedied by bringing its benefits to the fore. Over the next few months, I will focus on three key areas in which IT makes tangible contributions to business success.

magnifying glass icon Ensuring security and compliance

Breakdowns in data security lead to cyber-attacks, privacy breaches, and service outages. Financial impacts from these events include costly downtime, regulatory fines, and damage to reputation.

To complicate matters, businesses around the world have recently faced a deluge of new data security regulations. At the same time, the volume of cyber attacks, complexity of data threats, and number of network endpoints have all increased sharply. Effective data security requires dialogue and collaboration between the business and IT management.

Here, you can read articles that explore these themes and provide actionable recommendations for improved IT security:

Zero day attacks sound scary. Should you be concerned?

What is shadow IT and how should you respond to it?

Developing an acceptable use policy employees will actually read

interlocking puzzle pieces iconIncreasing efficiency and productivity

For employees to work at peak performance, they must have the right tools in an optimal digital workspace with everything flowing together to form a collaborative and productive business environment.

Want to start allowing employees to work remotely? IT needs to set up a reliable VPN and calibrate communication tools. Management has decided to create a smart workplace? IT will have to install sensors and configure disparate systems and devices.

Articles in this section delve into the various ways in which the business value of IT can be discerned by contributions to enhanced efficiency and increased productivity:

What small businesses should consider before outsourcing IT services

mountain top with flag iconGaining competitive advantage

Revolutions in analytics, cloud-based technology, and the internet of things are enhancing decision-making, simplifying processes, and fostering innovation. Businesses that embrace, rather than fear, these technological disruptions can exploit them for competitive advantage.

For some companies, adapting to change might mean upending their entire business model. For others it might simply require switching from on-premise to cloud-based software. But for any of this to happen, the business must work in concert with IT to turn strategies in realities.

Below, you will find articles that analyze current IT management trends, predict future industry dynamics, and prove that the business value of IT has never been greater:

Data mining vs. predictive analytics: Which is best for your business?

Digital twin: An example of related technologies converging