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IT's redemption – Finally getting the praise it deserves

There are studies and industry analysis reports that sometimes raise your eyebrows and force you to take a deep breath.

Today the report from Altrodigital, an office technology specialist, has gone well beyond this level of shock. It almost made my heart stop, by declaring that IT departments might actually now be getting the credit it deserves by coming second as the most likely department to help the company grow.

The study, which questioned 750 SMB companies across the UK, delivered some astounding results. It found that nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) rated their IT department as among the most important business functions to drive their business forward, coming in second place to sales (48 per cent) and beating finance (44 per cent), admin (35 per cent) and marketing (39 per cent)

This is a stunning turn around, when you compare IT's reputation during the millennium crisis where IT had to enforce company wide common operating environments (COE), which riled engineering and design departments no end.

Not surprisingly, ITs influence has dwindled since 2000, especially with corporate decisions to embrace BYOD and personal Cloud usage. However, the emasculation of IT does not seem to have had much effect. The report is still claiming it is a male dominated industry. Indeed only 25 per cent of IT managers who responded were female – though interestingly the report suggested that male IT co-ordinators have been revealed as being grumpier and more self-important than their female counterparts, while females are revealed as being ruder than the males! – don’t we just love surveys.

However, the survey did not stop there, they questioned respondents on what made a good IT manager and the key performance indicators where:

  1. Efficiency – the ability to fix a problem quickly
  2. Broad Knowledge base – the ability to educate the team on new technologies
  3. Commitment – staying around to fix the problem regardless of the hour
  4. Approachability – being able to explain problems in non-tech speak
  5. Patience – Yes patience was the 5th choice, I will not comment further

Tony Burnett, Group Sales Director at Altodigital said: “IT is no longer an afterthought it has become one of the most important functions of business. There’s been such significant developments in the technology space in the last decade that the majority of businesses have had to move with the times and introduce more technological systems and software to help improve business efficiency.

"This has led to an increased reliance on our IT managers at all levels, to help support less knowledgeable members of staff with everyday issues and they have become an integral part of the team.

"The research shows that the stereotypes around people working in technology are being broken down which is great for the diverse and often challenging industry."

Image source: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens