You work in IT. You love what you do. You believe your team loves what they do too. However,every now and then, we hit a level of frustration with our colleagues. Who doesn’t? Often times, it’s because IT is misunderstood at work.
Your business relies on IT to make sure it has all the tools they need to perform efficiently and securely. Your non-IT colleagues may not be as savvy, but you have to work together to resolve issues, implement new technology and share information. Your department’s reputation within the company will dictate how willing others will work with you and vice versa.
In 2014, InformationWeek conducted a survey on IT reputation to examine how IT professionals view their roles at work versus how their non-IT colleagues see them. Our of the 330 participants, the results showed that there was a mutual respect. With the right level of understanding, non-IT workers valued the contributions to IT at their company.
Working cross-functionally is natural in IT, even for the most introverted employee. However, the same study revealed that IT teams seemed too focused on technology rather than the people technology supports. While they may connect with their non-IT colleagues, the research found that the connections were based on projects and tasks (ex. Help Desk Support). Therefore, IT leaders should encourage their teams to build relationships with non-IT teams for the betterment of their business…and their reputation.
Here are some highlights of the study’s data:
- 75% of IT vs. 60% of non-IT were at least moderately satisfied with the quality, timelines and costs of IT projects
- IT’s involvement in other business areas has grown approximately 7% between 2012 and 2014
- Both IT and non-IT find business units (outside of IT) to be more at fault for any lack of innovation
- 71% of IT and 60% of non-IT see IT as having greater involvement in business over the next 2 years; an increase of 11% and 5% respectively since 2012
What are ways IT can improve its reputation at work?
- Break down silos. It’s easy to trap yourself in an IT bubble. However, your business is more than its infrastructure. Find ways to collaborate with our colleagues, rather than just be a support base.
- Be proactive in business. As an IT leader, you’re in the know about new technology trends across industries. Meet with other business units to share insights and data that can help them with their strategy.
- Learning opportunities. No need to a formal class. Gather some colleagues together for a series of “lunch and learn” activities to show how IT supports the business, and how other units are doing the same.
- Ask questions. If you or your employees have an interest in another business area, ask a colleague. It’s another opportunity to learn and gain valuable insight. It can help improve your contributions to discussions.
- Attend conferences and events outside of the IT space. For example, join your marketing colleagues at a a social media marketing conference. It’s not only an opportunity to network, but it’s a way to learn more about the people with whom you work.
Your IT reputation can make or break you and your team at work. Your department is at the core of your business. However, your colleagues need you and you need them, as you exchange and store information. Why not build strong relationships with each other? It will only make your business that much better.