What is the role of an IT organization? A response from the Techellence CIO, who established a flourishing IT organization that other departments aspire to join.

IT department is to be a blessing to all other departments through service. Dr. Sang Sur consistently taught this to his IT teams and continues to do so today.

The Information Technology department is to collaborate with operational leads to ensure they are successful. In a business sense, the IT department alone cannot produce value. Instead, it is fuel and an accelerator to the success of other business-focused teams. In other words, most companies do not "absolutely" require technology to accomplish their mission. Yet, without it today, they will often fail because of the need for speed of delivery, management of massive data due to rapid expansion and globalization, and communication needs to customers and internal team members.

Dr. Sur claims his job is to remain close to the business stakeholders to ensure that he correctly captures the business goals so that his team can align to meet the stakeholders' needs. A successful company has operational leaders running forward to meet the organization's vision, while the IT team runs alongside them to enable their success through tight partnership sharing the vision.

The role of Information Technology is to handle everything related to technology while assessing the needs of the organization and its users. Dr. Sur turned around an unstructured IT team to thrive, increasing the satisfaction and trust of the employees across the organization. He accomplished success by focusing on the infrastructure, the basis for the security and efficiency of how the company interacts with technology. Infrastructure includes emails, mobile phones, computers, data, and any collaboration tools used within the company.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance was a significant issue in that company. Its non-compliance could have prevented credit cards from being used in all retail stores, so he tackled that first and received approval for PCI standards until 2023. PCI is governed by the major credit card companies, including American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa. Their requirements are similar to those of other federal and state compliances, including GDPR, NY Shield, SOX, GLBA, and HIPAA.

Another focus of an IT organization is product development. The application development team, also known as the programmers, is like the special forces that we must protect from outside distractions so that it can operate as a weapon for organizational advancement. The capabilities they develop must be of the highest need to minimize costs and maximize value. Dr. Sur reviewed the work they performed bi-weekly with the business stakeholders to ensure this team was producing the highest value for the company at a given time.

Another focus is planning and execution, especially for more significant projects that take longer and require multiple resources. Doing what IT says they will do increases trust across the company, and planning well allows business leads to participate in the work and make collaborative decisions. Dr. Sur coined this team "Service Management." He trained them personally to be better planners, communicators, and servants to accomplish company-wide impacting assignments through enterprise project/program management and business analysis.

Finally, every IT team needs on-the-field soldiers who can handle any currently-established technical problems. Primarily due to the demands of retail service, Dr. Sur required the IT Field Services to operate around the clock to meet the needs across eight time zones. This team was also responsible for the customer experience (CX) and technology training for all technology users of the company.

Dr. Sur established the vision to serve and continued to personally train and coach the IT leaders and members, enabling a 30% increase in customer satisfaction and trust measured by customer surveys. Today, people from other departments aspire to be part of the IT staff because of the great respect they have earned across the company by providing excellent service, partnership, and results.