It’s not unusual to encounter a disconnect between a company’s IT department and its executive board. The two parties aren’t always aligned in their goals, and naturally, conflicts can arise. In these circumstances, finding common ground is essential.
For IT managers, priorities tend to centre on security risk management, compliance with regulations, system updates, and network maintenance. Technology is inherently expensive, and fulfilling the expectations of an IT department can come with substantial costs.
As an IT manager, approaching executive or financial departments may be intimidating. Colleagues in these roles might have opposing perspectives, tending to be more risk-averse and focused on minimising costs. This is not to their detriment; each department has its core objectives, and sometimes these will clash.
What’s important is for each department to understand the other’s concerns, within the context of the company’s universal goals.
For example, if a company-wide non-emergency software update is required, the finance department may initially turn down the IT manager’s request, because they perceive the costs to outweigh the benefits. However, if the IT manager explains that the software update will help employees to be more efficient, or for data to be better protected, or for proactive future-proofing, the risk balance begins to swing in favour of the IT manager’s request.
It’s perilously easy to become entrenched in one’s own department, but tribalism isn’t an effective way for departments to coexist. Communication is key to aligning business goals. It can be helpful for representatives from each department to attend the other’s strategic meetings, and to engage in dialogue that brokers will better understand the rationale for funding requests, as well as the reasoning for their approval or rejection.
The use of risk appetite statements – which express the amount of risk a company is prepared to take in order to reach its goals – strengthens this dialogue.
Taking everything on board, IT managers will be better placed to present their requests in a way that allows their financial and executive colleagues to understand the risks and benefits involved. Furthermore, finance managers will have greater understanding of operational context, helping them to avoid missing out on valuable opportunities due to misinterpretations of risk.
Boardish.io provides a software solution that allows both parties to better visualise and analyse budget requests, and to issue approval decisions seamlessly.
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