IT is at the top of company boards’ investments, according to this post on eWeek, as companies search for new ways to boost their businesses. At the heart of increased investment in IT is focusing on customers, emphasizing their strengths, and differentiating themselves from competitors.

Savvy businesses no longer recognize distinctions between IT and “the rest of the business;” CIOs and their C-level counterparts across the enterprise are now inseparable in progressive organizations.  After all, without IT, orders can’t be fulfilled, new products can’t be developed and day-to-day operations languish. It’s a natural evolution of the IT department to become a strategic partner in the organization. Boards expect it, which is why they’re pouring more money into technology.
 
But is IT ready for its new role? The business side is looking for partners who can say, for example, “Let’s connect our financial systems with a new CRM system in the cloud so the sales force and finance department can sync orders faster.” They want alacrity, and IT can give them that – if it gets over its fear of the cloud.
 
The cloud has become yet another powerful weapon in the arsenal. It offers clear advantages, and progressive organizations are always open to deploying new technologies that are strategic to their business. The CIO who says, “Yes, we can get the computer-aided engineering software to run in the cloud so that engineers can work on location with their laptops,” will certainly stand out to her Board because that strategic technology change will have a material impact on the company’s bottom line.
 
Faster order syncing, more capabilities for engineers and faster time to market are all things that the business side appreciates. IT makes that happen, particularly as savvy CIOs move toward cloud-based services that free up staff to focus on strategic initiatives. Becoming a strategic partner is IT’s destiny, and the cloud is certainly a powerful catalyst that can make it happen now.
 
But even more important is becoming the kind of organization that is structurally and philosophically ready to capitalize on any technology advantage, whether that’s cloud computing today or whatever comes next.