What’s in a Name? Re-branding IT.
Recently, I have been asked to re-evaluate the Information Technology department name. The request reflects the changing dynamic IT has with the business. The challenge has not been an easy one however, as perceptions within the department, from other departments, and from the c-level executives all see IT’s roles & responsibilities very differently.
From other departments, IT is still seen as providing technology essentials; access to an employee’s desktop, access to the internet, and access to the printer. This may seem primitive, but if any one of these technologies fails for any one employee, IT supports’ phones will be ringing off the hook. And, of course, the phones need to remain working. This view is old, stale, and outdated for sure, but still persists by many who do not fully understand all the technology work behind the scenes that goes on to ensure the company’s success. It essence, they view IT as only a support service, ready at their beckon call.
Within the department, technicians see IT as essential to the foundation of the business they operate within. Communications, servers, databases and data access, operational technology are all essential to keeping the business running, and technicians are focused on uptime and resiliency. Unfortunately, this view is very now focused. Many IT departments are often at max capacity, and spend an inordinate amount of time fixing issues that transpire with new software integrations, updates or patches, that usually break more than they fix. It is paramount to running after fires 24/7. Due to this mindset, forward looking, business process optimization idea generation are rarely seen within the IT department itself.
At the executive level, IT strategy is critical to improving the contribution margin, as well as providing critical, timely information to aid in the decision making process. Continuous process improvements are key to reducing variable costs and increasing profit, and in today’s world it is technology that has the largest impact on process improvement. It is also well known that data has proven to be the differentiator businesses can implement to succeed in the Red Oceans of competition. Failure to understand IT’s role in business strategy is a key metric to business extinction; Blockbuster is the perfect example of how failing to strategize with technology can be the company’s downfall.
It is not that any of these views are wrong, it is just that each is incomplete, looking at just a small sliver of what technology does, and can do¸ for a business. For business’ to be successful in 2020, technology and data strategy are keys to supporting the mission; ensuring process improvements are continuous, both radical and incremental. Uptime is critical to ensure continued operations within a company is unabated, where redundancy and resiliency is the most paramount importance. And lastly, IT still is a support service, often ensuring very technical programs can be used easily by staff who may not be as technically adept as IT staff themselves. The technology division needs to rebrand itself to redefine to its customers and itself the importance of IT’s role in the success of business.
So with so many different viewpoints of IT’s relationship with the business, yet with the understanding it is a composite of all these differing viewpoints, how can IT be rebranded that optimally reflects how IT has merged into a critical division of company’s today?
In my view, there are four key components into rebranding IT into a new company division:
- The name needs to be strategy orientated and results driven. Businesses cannot grow, and thus continue to compete, if technology is not ever changing in an effort to continuously improve processes and increase the contribution margin.
- The name needs to reflect a partnership between technology and the other divisions. IT is no longer just a technology support service, but integral partner in developing a strategy that allows operational strategy, and thus the company’s mission, to succeed.
- The name needs to reflect data’s emergence as a competitive differentiator. Seeing technology as just the hardware or software provided is shortsighted by not understanding its most critical contribution to a business’s success: Data.
- The name needs to be different enough from “Information Technology” to remove any previous connotations of IT’s roles and responsibilities within the business. The main reason to rebrand is to change the corporate image of an organization, or in this case a organization’s division; to create a different identity from one it was seen as before the rebrand.
So with all this in mind, do I have a name to offer you; and as with many good answers, it all depends. Every business is unique, and as such, technology’s role in each business itself is unique. How technology builds off of, and integrates into your business will help you define what a new brand name should be, but hopefully the four components above can help direct you towards a name that fits your unique environment. In saying that, here are a few names that have popped up in my searches and discussions on the topic:
- Digital Business Solutions
- Global Technology Services
- Digital Solutions Department
- Business Technology Unit
- Enterprise Communications
What are your thoughts? Are you, or have you gone through a rebranding, and if so, what name did you come up with?