Last Friday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on What is the “True” Value of Information Technology in This Ever-Changing Business Climate? A huge thank you to our panelists; Tom Butterfield, EVP, Chief Technology and Operations Officer at TCF Bank, Rob Geyer, Chief Operations Officer at Medica, Jolene Gardner, SVP Automation, Re-Engineering and Transformation at UHG, and Matt Marek, President and CEO at Further for sharing their knowledge on how business is changing during this time.

How important is it that the head of IT has a deep technical background?

When it comes to a technical background, leaders should have a deep enough understanding of it and have connections with their IT team. The process and business side of things show that technology as a function is getting even more technical. While leaders of IT may not need a deep understanding of coding, they need to be able to connect business strategies and implement the technology. People’s leadership is key to success, and knowing how to grow other leaders is important so we can be smarter together.

What are your key metrics, or how are you capturing the value of IT solutions?

Each panelist stated different key metrics that capture the value of IT solutions. Some of them were understanding how to get capital, being able to measure speed to value, always looking for implementation, and achieving business needs. Also, the panelists agreed that IT is a business, and you need to justify the investments. Being able to measure outcomes and effectiveness is essential as well.

How has the role of IT changed in recent years, and how do you see that changing in the future?

The role of IT has changed due to IT driving the business strategies. Technology is a strategy, and IT is a strategy center. Business and technology are going to continue to blend as technology becomes more prominent in leading business strategy.

How do you balance your internal IT department with alternative solutions from the outside?

It is important to be intellectually honest about what your organization needs and understand why people may want to look elsewhere. Outside influences may change the business internally when it comes back to its business strategy. You want strategic thinking at the core of your business, which will also build trust.

How are you helping the leaders in your organization develop the soft skills and emotional skills needed to lead people through high stress and anxiety?

Leaders are leading people through this time by ensuring security and safety. They are staying connected to leaders and caring about them as a person rather than their technology background. Leaders are helping one another in their organization learn to lead with grace and have empathy. The best thing you can do as a leader is to model your most authentic self.

As Charles Kettering said, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.” This is a reminder that nothing changes faster than IT, and we should interpret it the best way we can. If you were unable to join, you can view the full session here.