When you think business growth you might not automatically think of the IT department. It is generally viewed as playing a supporting role and is associated more with back-end systems and CRM, LAN and WAN access, helpdesk support, backup and security.
But in today’s business landscape, IT underpins almost all aspects of modern business, placing it in the perfect position to influence business growth and expansion. Nigeria’s IT managers need to play a more decisive role in business growth strategies – and this starts with understanding how IT has evolved and its potential for transformation.
Taking IT responsibilities beyond the help desk
The formula for business success has changed since the value of IT has grown in businesses. It now involves driving innovation with IT solutions. The duties and responsibilities of IT have also been adapted as it moves forward from a strictly “back-office” role. Business executives now expect IT to provide a competitive edge to the organisation and relevant back-end systems to support productivity. There are a few collaborative areas where IT has had to transform into a recognised and reliable leader. By playing a key role in these different areas of business, IT aids business growth.
IT’s key role in business
“The reasons for the omnipresent use of computer technology in business can best be determined by looking at how it is being used across the business world,” says Chris MacKechnie in his article, Information technology & its role in the modern organisation. Digital marketing and resource management are just two areas where IT is being used to drive business.
- Data mining and business analysis
Market research can be done in many ways, but the value of big data doesn’t lie in the data itself – it lies in what you do with it. To ensure you’re making the right data-driven business decisions, you need an IT department that combines the expertise of data mining with the strategic thinking of a business analyst. IT provides descriptive, predictive and prescriptive data analysis and collaborates with executives to help make valuable business decisions.
- Management Information Systems (MIS)
Big data plays a crucial role in the strategic planning process of a company and its execution. MIS gives companies access to their sales data, expenses and productivity levels. As a result, they can track profitability over time, maximise returns on investment and identify problem areas.
- Marketing for business growth
Businesses are constantly striving to position themselves better online with the advent of digital marketing. IT solutions can ensure strong, sustained marketing support by tending to back-end needs such as integrating SEO into CRM and other marketing systems. It can also provide organisations with more in-depth knowledge about their target market, buying behaviour and needs.
- Resource management
Whether it’s tangible, human or financial, the complex processes involved with managing your resources have been automated by IT. There are now cloud-based enterprise resource management (ERP) solutions that allow executives to get a bird’s-eye view of their organisational resources at the click of a button.
Getting the best ROI on your IT
These aren’t the only areas of business where IT drives business growth. It’s also involved in communications, inventory management, customer relationship management, marketing, research and development, as well as project management.
The amount of value you derive from IT and how much it contributes to business growth directly relates to how much you invest in it and how you manage it. IT has become a valuable resource for businesses.
Not sure how to go about investing in IT for business growth and want to know how much is too much? Let us help you with our 5-step guide to IT department budget development.