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Business Owners: How to Improve Relations Between IT and Senior Management

Do you wish your IT department and senior managers would get along better? Many business owners feel the same way: they aren’t happy with the relations between IT and senior management.

Senior management may think IT is too complicated or just a cost centre, which can lead to conflicts with the IT department. For business owners, there are many ways to remedy this situation. Here are some tips for improving relations between senior management and the IT department.

Educating Senior Management about IT

Senior management may think IT is too complicated or hard to understand. This can lead to conflicts with the IT department. For example, IT may not be able to get approval to purchase essential software if senior management doesn’t understand why it’s important. If IT leaders want to replace old on-premise software with cloud solutions, senior management may say no. In this situation, IT leaders may be frustrated because they can’t get approval for what they see as an important solution. Senior management may be frustrated about being asked to spend more money on solutions that don’t seem useful.

Educating senior management about IT can help resolve these issues. Of course, there’s no need for your senior managers to become tech experts. They just need to understand new technologies well enough to communicate better with IT. These technologies include things like cloud computing, the internet of things, and blockchain.

There are many ways to educate senior management about these new technologies. One option is to send your senior managers to an IT conference like iTech. At the conference, they can brush up on new technologies by listening to speakers or attending sessions. You could also bring an IT trainer into your workplace to go over some new technologies with senior management.

Hire a Talented Chief Information Officer

A great CIO is another piece of the puzzle. Great CIOs should have a solid understanding of the technologies businesses need to use. That doesn’t mean they need to be tech experts or able to perform the jobs of all IT employees. They just need to understand how technologies work, how they can benefit the business, and how technologies tie into projects.

Talented CIOs can participate intelligently in meetings with the IT department. They can support IT throughout the organization and advocate for new technologies that could benefit the business.

If you don’t have a CIO who fits the bill, it’s time to recruit one. It may make sense to outsource this function. Working with technical recruiters can help you find the right CIO for your business. They can work their networks to find great candidates for the role. They have the skills to encourage top candidates to join your company.

Involve Your CIO in Decision-Making

According to a McKinsey survey on business technology, IT leaders often aren’t included in shaping businesses’ strategic agendas. Including IT leaders in decision making can show senior management the IT department is effective. At companies where CIOs are very or extremely involved in decision making and strategy, IT departments are considered more effective. That’s why including your CIO in strategic meetings can help improve relations between IT and the senior management team.

This is also beneficial for the IT department. When CIOs are involved with strategy and decision making, they have a better understanding of the business’s short- and long-term technology needs. They can communicate this knowledge to the IT department, and help the IT department meet the business’s needs. By meeting the business’s needs, the IT department may feel more useful and may get more recognition from senior management, which improves relations.

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