How can IT stay ahead of the business?

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Assistant Director IT Auditor in Education, 10,001+ employees
IT mission (in most cases) is to support the business to ensure that the business can carry out its mission to achieve its goals  and objectives. Therefore, IT must have a good understanding of the business processes and how the business is using IT to execute the business processes (doing business). In order for IT to achieve this and stay a head of the business, IT management should have regular meetings and an open line of communications with business executives and senior business managers to get a sound understanding  of how the business is using IT and obtain regular feedback of IT issues and successes from the business. A solid business and IT relationship must be established and both sides must understand what each other is doing, more so on the IT side.
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Assistant Director IT Auditor in Education, 10,001+ employees

I will also like to add, that IT should put policies (i.e., access controls, change controls, etc.) in place, to ensure that the business is not making changes to systems without IT involvement and service levels agreements with the business, so that IT services are clear and measurable. These are important to protect IT and keep all parties honest.

VP, Technology Manager in Education, 10,001+ employees
It must be proactive in bringing value to business partners. If best of breed technology is presented in anticipation of a business case, rather than as a response to it, the IT leaders will be seen as enablers.
ISSO and Director of the IRU in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees
The only way IT can stay ahead of the business is to have the support of the key decision makers in management and funding. If you don’t have either of h to use it doesn’t matter what you want to do or put into place.
President & CTO in Education, 2 - 10 employees
Each individual IT member should empower everyone in the business to familiarize themselves with the tools at their disposal to drive the business forward. Building automation into business systems requires technical applications but also an educated and informed crew of professionals throughout the entire organization
Chief Information Officer in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
This is a fascinating question. In a sense, many IT groups may always be a step behind the business depending on the ability of the IT team to anticipate where the business sees the most value from IT services. However, there are some simple ways for IT to keep up with the business and improve IT value.

Innovation. Business teams respect innovative solutions to real business problems. IT teams that are proactive with realizing the “gaps” between the market where the business lives (think competition) and the technology for solutions to those business problems will greatly improve their value to business teams.

Productivity. Business teams value productivity. The more efficient IT solutions are at solving real business problems, the more value IT provides to the business.

Flexibility. IT teams need to be flexible and ready for change. Everything changes over time. Customer needs and expectations, processes, markets and competitors, will all evolve. The more flexible the IT team is to responding to business issues and helps the business understand their target market, the better the value proposition.

In short, IT needs to learn to think like the business in order to keep up with the business.

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Director of Systems Operations in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees
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