When it comes to running a business, IT managers play a critical role in managing the systems and technical processes that keep operations running smoothly.
But when it comes to choosing the software that powers a company’s operations, an IT manager should not be solely responsible for the decision. Department heads are much better suited to the task — and, generally speaking, more capable of making decisions that support long-term business goals.
Why? In our experience, we’ve outlined a few key reasons:
- An IT manager’s focus is on the tech infrastructure.
- Department heads know their teams’ needs.
- Cloud software or SAAS solutions can be implemented with little or no internal technical staff interaction or maintenance.
- A company’s focus should be on solutions that improve workflows and processes.
Below, we’ll expand on each of these points and provide a roadmap for selecting software that works with your business — rather than forcing teams to adapt to a new set of processes and workflows.
An IT Manager’s Focus Is on the Tech Infrastructure
An IT manager’s primary focus is on the technical infrastructure of a business, ensuring that its systems and applications are running effectively and securely.
This is vital work that requires a deep understanding of networking, hardware management, software development, system administration, data security protocols, and related technological issues. The IT manager’s goal is to make sure that the infrastructure is up to date with the company standards.
But just as you wouldn’t expect an accountant to set product prices or manage inventory, you shouldn’t expect an IT manager to perform an in-depth analysis of how software actually operates.
That’s important at the ground level. Your teams will need to actually operate the software and understand how it functions; they’ll find ways to optimize efficiency, work around limitations, and build better workflows.
Since an IT manager has limited involvement in actual operations, they may not have the necessary perspective to find a solution that functions on day one — and your team’s workflow may need to adapt to the software, rather than adapting the software to fit their needs.
Department Heads Know Their Teams’ Needs
Department heads understand the specific needs and goals of their teams. They know their teams’ objectives and unique requirements, and they can accurately determine whether the software will function as a solution to current pain points.
- A sales team has issues logging contact attempts. If the new software doesn’t improve on the legacy system’s contact logging capabilities, it won’t resolve the issue — so the sales manager prioritizes this capability when choosing a solution.
- A sales team and a fulfillment team have had trouble developing a cohesive process. They need an ERP that allows for effortless communication; the managers look for that feature when evaluating their options.
- An accounting team needs software that integrates well with other tools to cut out manual data entry. The accounting manager would understand the potential benefits of using an ERP that supports integration with the tool, but an IT manager might not see this as a major priority.
A department head understands how to support their team’s specific needs and objectives. IT managers may have knowledge about how to use and operate various types of software, but they’re missing the deeper context — and when software directly affects the way your business operates, context is crucial.
Cloud Software or SAAS solutions Can Be Implemented With Little or No Internal Technical Staff Interaction or Maintenance.
It’s true that department heads often lack the technical expertise needed to implement and maintain complex solutions. Without an experienced IT staff on hand, it can be difficult to find a solution that meets every department’s needs.
This is why many enterprises assign software purchasing decisions to IT managers — and on paper, it makes sense.
However, this way of thinking ignores the reality of modern IT. Cloud software or SAAS solutions offer an easy way for department heads to access powerful tools without interacting with an internal technical staff for product support and maintenance.
With modern solutions, companies can quickly and easily implement new systems with minimal effort and cost. Cloud and SAAS solutions are ideal for businesses looking for a fast and efficient way to improve their processes without relying on extensive technical knowledge or resources.
A Company’s Focus Should Be On Solutions That Improve Workflows and Processes.
A company’s success is heavily dependent on its ability to create efficient workflows and processes.
As such, it is essential for businesses to identify software solutions that specifically address the needs of their departments and teams. When selecting software, a company’s focus should be on solutions that can provide improved workflow capabilities and make processes easier to manage.
Leaders must not focus on whether the software is popular with competitors or whether it offers more features than other options. If a feature isn’t actively utilized, it isn’t useful — and an excessive featureset may actually increase training costs or introduce new bottlenecks in workflows.
Ideally, business software solutions will support your workflows and offer enough flexibility to support long-term growth. IT managers often focus solely on the features and capabilities — but remember, if you’re not using a certain feature, it isn’t helping your business.
IT managers have a complex skill set and a thorough knowledge of how software works. However, they typically lack an in-depth understanding of each team’s unique requirements.
Department heads are much more attuned to the needs, expectations, and preferences of their teams. Choosing software requires a decent amount of research, and it’s tempting to assign the responsibility to people who have an IT background — but while IT managers have a role to play during the implementation phase, department heads are uniquely qualified to make the decision.