Technology drives innovation. Innovation, in turn, drives business success. These two facts are what has led to information technology leaders becoming a central player in how a business manages organizational performance, efficiency, and growth.
It hasn’t always been a linear progression. However, technology now has become a part of almost every phase of business. It is used from digital records and data collection to sensors tracking inventory levels in remote warehouses.
How can IT be used to further enhance critical areas of business? Here’s a closer look, which should be of interest for those considering entering a Master of Science in Applied Information Technology degree program.
IT and Organizational Efficiency
This is a focus for most companies and technology plays an essential role. While most companies converted from paper to digital records long ago, that was just the tip of the iceberg for what IT leaders can do in terms of efficiency.
Some areas where IT leads to efficiency include:
Automation and machine learning. Software can now be written for systems that will handle many of the routine tasks associated with collecting and managing data, among other work. This frees up employees to focus on more creative and impactful projects.
Data-driven decision making. Data removes the guesswork from many areas of business. Marketing, for example, can now better target consumers who fit certain demographic profiles. This prevents wasting time and energy on campaigns that are too general in nature.
Internet of Things. The use of connected sensors can make areas such as warehousing and transportation much more efficient, with real-time tracking and better supply chain coordination.
IT and Organizational Performance
All the above can lead to better performance for an organization. Even most process improvement methodologies have data measurement and analysis as part of their core. It takes IT leaders with vision and excellent communication skills to educate executives on the potential for IT solutions.
Another way of improving performance is by helping organizations avoid pitfalls. One example is the need to reduce “shadow IT,” which refers to employees outside of the IT department deploying software. IT leaders can better help control this issue, which can lead to more security problems if not held in check.
Another key area is education. IT leaders have a lead role in educating end users on how to properly use IT systems that are necessary for their jobs. This is to increase both operational efficiency and performance as well as provide better security for information systems.
IT and Growth
IT is now completely interwoven into business strategy. This includes plans for expansion and growth. Projects teams that develop plans must now use data-driven methods to arrive at the best conclusions, including predictive analytics. All this runs through IT – or should run through IT.
As noted by Forbes, “Improvisation is not really the way to go when it comes to business and finances.” In the magazine’s list of tips for explosive growth, each of them can involve IT systems and data analytics, including: development of growth strategy, identifying market opportunities, getting consumer feedback, and organizing business documentation to ensure transparency.
Businesses that invest in technology have proven time and again that they will lead the way in innovation and expand their market share, according to LinkedIn, adding that IT is “the only technology which provides you the opportunity to analyze specific data and plan your business journey accordingly.”
Certainly, IT will play a role in organizational growth, efficiency and performance for the foreseeable future. Those who educate themselves to take on IT leadership roles will find themselves on the cutting-edge of innovation and a central part of making organizations better.
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