Why Business Acumen Is as Important as IT Skills

Information technology has historically played a supporting role in most organizations. IT systems and applications help to automate and streamline workflows and provide employees with the information they need to make decisions and serve customers. In this traditional model, technology is vital to operations but not necessarily core to business strategy.

That’s changing rapidly. Smart organizations are using technology to fundamentally alter the way they do business. In a recent Deloitte study on strategic risk, 53 percent of organizations surveyed said that the so-called “disruptive” technologies — social, mobile, big data and the cloud — pose a threat to their established business models. In addition, 91 percent of survey respondents said the emergence of those technologies have led them to change their business strategies.

Clearly, the traditional approach to IT won’t suffice in today’s business climate. IT professionals should no longer be viewed as the geeks who keep the server up and running and troubleshoot problems with the Wi-Fi network. Sure, those things need to be done, but that shouldn’t be the IT team’s focus.

In hiring IT professionals (or outsourced IT providers), organizations should look for business acumen as well as technical expertise. In fact, Gartner has predicted that every IT role will require at least some degree of business acumen by 2020. IT leaders need the ability to develop a vision and strategy that improves business outcomes. The IT workers who execute that strategy must shift their focus from efficiency to effectiveness and creating value for the organization.

To achieve these results, IT pros must be able to identify business challenges and apply technology to those challenges in innovative ways. They have to speak the language of the business and understand organizational risk.

There are three ways SSD can help you succeed in this new, digital economy:

  • Virtual CIO Services. SSD’s consultants have many years of business and IT experience, and know how to develop an IT strategy that will help achieve your business objectives. Our Assurance program includes “virtual CIO” services that gives your executive team access to this expertise on an as-needed basis. We can help you identify technology trends that could affect your business model, and make more-informed IT decisions.
  • End-to-End Managed Services. The SSD Assurance program allows you to offload the day-to-day management and support of your IT infrastructure so that your team can focus on the strategic initiatives that will drive your business forward. Our managed services do more than simply ensure a “green light” — we customize a plan to address potential risks to your business and issues that could impact your operations.
  • Trusted Advisory Services. You don’t have to wait for a formal, executive-level planning session to tap SSD’s expertise. With our Assurance program you’re assigned an entire team of people who understand your business and your IT environment. We’re here to serve as a sounding board for your ideas, and to suggest ways you could improve your operations with technology. We don’t represent any particular vendor or solution, so you’re assured of an objective perspective.

Your organization needs IT professionals who can manage your systems, rapidly troubleshoot problems and support your end-users. But in the digital economy, business acumen has become equally important. SSD can help you navigate today’s business environment and leverage the latest technology tools to boost the top and bottom line.