ERP, Digitization

The IT Department Is Becoming a Driver of Innovation

Tobias Fenster

In many companies, IT managers are working on increasing their knowledge and broadening their basic technical skills in order to fulfill an important requirement set by the management board: The objective is to change and adapt IT systems to make them faster and more innovation-friendly, as is required due to business models and the change in competition. In this context, the IT department has the potential to become the driver of digitalization with the right employees and innovative technologies.

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Handling complexity

On the basis of SaaS solutions, IT managers modernize their department such that they can handle the growing complexity and the challenges associated with digitalization together with their employees. In order to do so, they must recognize that they are performing a paradigm shift - from on-premise systems to cloud solutions.

After all, it’s clear that if employees are provided the necessary infrastructure and basic technology in the form of software-as-a-service solutions, they can focus on the implementation of innovative projects. IT managers can then assign many new tasks to their employees.

Instead of investing considerable amounts of money and manpower to keep on-premise systems alive, employees can work on promoting and accelerating digital transformation. For that purpose, they orient themselves directly towards business models, ensure end-to-end digitalization of the processes within the company or use portals to get partners connected to automated production systems or logistics applications.

New methods, new tools

SaaS providers offer the necessary IT tools and methods. These are conceptualized such that IT departments can quickly and effectively develop, use, implement and adapt algorithms and applications. The basis for this are concepts such as DevOps, containerization and agile methods like Scrum.

For IT managers, this comes with the advantage that many of the expensive, large-scale development projects regarding on-premise systems are no longer necessary. A service in the form of an app can be a quick and pragmatic solution in order to map short-term changes in a business process.

Using low-code tools, even employees in the other departments who don’t have extensive programming skills can create these applications, albeit in close coordination with the IT department and in accordance with compliance and security requirements. This is simply impossible in an IT environment characterized by legacy systems and outdated hardware. Companies who implement changes too late will have significant competitive disadvantages.

Influence within the company

The IT departments take on a new role within the company, interlinking technology and business as a result of the paradigm shift. Thanks to their knowledge of the right technologies and employees, they position their department - which used to be considered as a cost driver or even as skeptical towards innovation - as a business enabler.

SaaS solutions provide them with all the basic tools they need. What’s more, the employees have the necessary technical and methodological skills to implement this. They discuss what’s possible together with the other departments, and, as drivers of innovation and automation, they take full charge of the IT systems in the company.

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Author:
Tobias Fenster
Chief Technical Officer COSMO CONSULT Group