By Steve Cerocke
We work with a lot of companies where technology decisions are made without the tactical advantage of a committee dedicated to defining and managing the many aspects of technology and how it impacts the business. I think it is more important than ever to gather the troops and work on business and IT planning as shared components to an overall company strategy.
The role of an IT committee is to align information technology solutions with the business strategy. With the quickly changing technology environment, and more options than ever on how you deploy and use IT services, a committee approach will allow you to gain input from the team while assigning resources to research options and make recommendations.
The committee is usually made up of management personnel and users in charge of IT resources. Committee members may also include board members, vendors and partners that can assist with technical knowledge, industry advice and outside experience. Here are a few things to consider when setting up and running your IT committee.
- Align IT with business strategy: The primary goal of the technology committee is to define how and where IT will be necessary to achieve the strategic goals of the organization. Since business strategy often drives operational excellence, it is easy to see where IT can play an important role. For example, when things like business processes, marketing or communication require improvement to meet the strategy, technology solutions are frequently applied.
- Budgeting: Another role of the IT committee is to own the IT budget. This means that they need to define costs, returns on investment and timelines. Since IT projects are often undertaken to achieve business cost reductions or measurable gains in thing like productivity, there are financial justifications for many IT projects.
- IT management: As IT systems become more important to business operations, it is critical that they are properly maintained, secured and backed up. The IT committee needs to define and oversee the resources, processes and metrics around the management of the systems, personnel and outsource vendors responsible for these services. The IT committees also defines IT policy and is responsible for regular reviews and updates as technology changes.
- Committee operation: The benefit of the committee approach to IT development and management is the opportunity to define initiative champions that are responsible for each functional area. This division of labor will allow the business to advance IT on multiple fronts while still keeping an eye on operations and financial management. Regular meetings, accountability and reporting are important objectives for each committee member.
IT committees can play a valuable role in small and mid-size businesses. While many organizations are tasking employees to do more with less, the IT committee gives employees and managers another way to work together to reach important business goals.
Steve Cerocke, founder/president of IQ Systems Inc. of Reno, can be reached at 775-352-2301, ext. 1001, or firstname.lastname@example.org.