Many organizations are beginning to understand how tech projects can support their strategy and mission, but in some cases, there is still a disconnect between IT and the executive team. David Stephenson, director of information technology at Worldwide ERC, shares how to create that connection.
What are the benefits of having an IT representative present at an organization’s executive table?
In today’s world, with so many associations experiencing a digital transformation, it is critical that IT is seen as a strategic partner and not just as “keeping the lights on.” In the traditional model, most IT functions fall under the chief financial officer, and technology is simply viewed as an asset.
When an IT representative is part of the executive team, he or she can understand and be involved in the organization’s strategy and can help find appropriate solutions to organizational challenges—while avoiding situations in which the IT team must find a solution after a decision was made or rein in rogue solutions implemented without their knowledge.
Without an executive representative, how can IT staff present their projects effectively and get executive buy-in?
First, they must intimately understand their organization’s business plan and objectives and tie projects back to those. Also, they should clearly state at the beginning of any project that resources will need to be allocated to both launch and maintenance, so that the executive team understands the long-term investment.
Before presenting projects, IT professionals should have a full understanding of how their organization evaluates projects, then define measurable goals for those projects. They should be able to document what is being done, why it needs to be done, and the budget. Developing a cross-departmental team to investigate, implement, and maintain the project can also win buy-in and investment from across the organization.
How can the IT team demonstrate that they support the entire organization’s work?
IT staff should build networks within the organization. They can make an effort to ask questions of other departments to find out what they are working on and express interest in helping them solve their challenges.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Bring Tech to the Executive Table."]