IT management often laments the lack of respect and understanding from the “business side” of the organization. CIOs find that they are not quite on par with the rest of the C-level group, positioned as senior order takers, not strategic decision makers. A CFO once told me that “IT is basically a black hole”. 

Does this sound familiar?

If  you are in charge of an IT department and recognize that there is a problem (many don’t), you may want to know how to change the perception and bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the organization. The issue at hand is your department’s credibility. Here are five simple things that will cost you nothing but make a world of difference.

1. Learn as much as possible about the business of your organization, the industry and the key economic factors shaping the market. Enable your people to do the same.

2. Engage you business side peers in conversations. Ask questions about their part of the business process, concerns, views, pressure points. Listen much more than talk. Encourage your people to establish similar connections at their level.

3. In the majority of organizations what IT does day in and day out is a mystery. Hold open door days, issue a newsletter, keep a blog – market your department to the rest of the organization.

4. Learn to speak business language (see my article on this here) and develop this skill in your people – engage them in thought provoking conversations, sponsor learning, work with a coach.

5. Showcase your understanding and appreciation of the business content by offering your opinion on business issue and suggesting strategically valuable ideas that propel the organization forward.

If you do it right, you will develop credibility and a reputation of a strategic thinker. Your department will seize to be “a bunch of propeller-heads” and will evolve into a strategic asset of the organization. 

What is stopping you ?