Information Technology: The business world remained the same for a century after the Industrial Revolution, but it’s safe to say that will never happen again.
The exponential rate at which technology is developing, changing, and adapting is so fast that you can’t help but get swept up in a wave of progress — whether you’re ready for it or not.
In this context, information technology (IT) has changed every aspect of how companies operate, and never before has this change occurred so quickly.
But what exactly is IT, and what is its role in companies? Check out everything about it in this guide!
What Is Information Technology?
Information technology professionals provide support for individual hardware, software, and devices. While most people’s interactions with IT involve computer problems, the job goes far beyond that.
Generally, there are three main responsibilities that IT professionals can be held accountable for:
- governance: the policies and procedures that ensure monitored systems are functioning effectively and aligned with business objectives;
- operations: the day-to-day work an IT department handles, from technical support to network maintenance and everything in between;
- infrastructure: the setup and maintenance of physical hardware that makes up a company’s IT infrastructure, such as routers, servers, computers, and phone systems.
What Is Information Technology For?
While the role varies from company to company and industry to industry, there are generally 6 critical business functions for which IT is critical.
Support is an umbrella term for a huge range of services. Their experts will perform routine upgrades and maintenance as needed and help people with whatever issues they are having with their technology and technology systems, from computers to phone lines.
This can involve fixing buggy or corrupted software, educating users on properly accessing and utilizing their systems and tools, implementing company-wide or department-wide reviews, and much more.
In larger organizations, IT often has its help desk that handles individual user questions and complaints and deploys staff as needed. A help desk also allows the IT department to prioritize different issues that arise and resolve them in order of importance.
In this role, IT is truly a support medium as it serves to help its customers and plays a role behind the scenes. Of course, that doesn’t make them any less important. They are truly critical to an organization’s operations.
Data Management And Governance
Today’s companies generate an enormous amount of data. This information can be extremely useful for businesses to improve and advance their strategies and goals, but it must be understandable and comprehensive. A rapidly growing role for IT is data management and governance.
IT teams devise plans to store data through databases and other repositories. They also create ways for these repositories to classify and analyze the data, providing meaningful insights—understandable and actionable for lay people. Additionally, IT plays a vital role in helping employees access the data they need as needed.
Another way that IT plays an integral role in data management is by protecting data from falling into the wrong hands, which can be disastrous for any organization.
Above all, IT is about building and maintaining a company’s infrastructure. Alongside management and critical business departments, IT is key in ensuring the organization operates successfully.
It lays the technology foundation of a business by selecting and implementing its framework. Various components include hardware—computers, telephone systems, network devices, printers, and circuitry, to name a few—and software encompasses the vital programs people use regularly.
The IT department also assesses a company’s needs and makes recommendations, as needed, for various programs and equipment for management to purchase to keep the organization running smoothly. Sometimes they can suggest updates to make the business more successful and efficient.
The budget is also an integral part of the process. An IT manager or director will work with company management to develop a budget plan that cost-effectively meets critical needs.
As you know, communication is vital for every business, no matter the type. In our digital world, much of that communication now occurs virtually, whether your business operates remotely or in an office environment.
Your IT team plays a critical role in establishing communication systems. They will install email clients, recommend platforms for video conferencing, and establish collaboration methods such as project management tools and chat platforms.
But it’s not just about implementing existing software. IT teams also innovate, finding ways in which companies can improve their communication systems. This could involve creating new platforms for internal use to help colleagues communicate more efficiently and effectively, such as a unique chat system for your specific industry.
Cybersecurity goes beyond data protection, although it is a vital step . IT specialists will work to identify vulnerabilities in your systems, including all software and hardware, which could be infected with malware or penetrated by hackers and cybercriminals without adequate protection.
Cybersecurity is an essential concept for organizations of all types and sizes because, without it, organizations risk not only the attacks themselves but also the destruction of their reputations. Some IT professionals specialize in cybersecurity or specific subsets such as network security. Consider hiring an expert to protect your organization from further harm.
Supplementary Programs And Services
In addition to these 5 critical functions, IT is also responsible for implementing additional programs and services that may be unique or necessary for your organization. For example, they suggest instituting specific software for your marketing department to use or advise implementing budgeting software that helps your accounting and accounting teams.