02: Moving IT teams from cost center to collaborator with AI automation
IT is a team sport, and your team just got bigger
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The challenge facing IT teams

In recent years, many IT teams have seen their influence wane. Especially with the advent of low-code and no-code options—the type of apps that don’t require a traditional programmer—business units have had even greater freedom to bypass IT and, at least at the less complex level, move more quickly. Though faster is better, especially when it comes to new features and functions, this diminished role may not be the one that IT teams want to play.

“The challenge for IT teams is how to better align themselves to the business and be seen as a facilitator versus a cost center. Getting IT folks to really go in and understand how the business operates and be ingrained into what capabilities are needed so that they can better provide those services—it’s important. I don’t think we do a good enough job—the collective we—of having IT professionals sit in and be part of the business so that they understand what those roles and responsibilities are and what it takes to perform those functions every day. And if they did, they’d be much better suited to help build out and pick solutions, which would cause less of a reliance on the business folks doing it themselves.” —Melissa Long Dolson, Vice President, AI Ops & Integration, IBM Technology Sales



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The challenge for IT teams is how to better align themselves to the business and be seen as a facilitator versus a cost center. Melissa Long Dolson

Although IT has always been a team sport, now it’s time for the players to come from all parts of the business. Fortunately, AI and IT automation open the door to amazing opportunities to rethink how IT is done.

“It's not just about human beings manually doing work anymore. It's about really understanding tools and technology and how you can put them to work. That requires different and additional skills within your IT teams and across your business.” —Keri Olson

Fact: 64% of executives surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value believe that generative AI will bridge the gap between IT and business roles.¹

How to strengthen IT teams

Consider these “what ifs” to help you reinvent and revitalize IT:


What if IT was considered a trusted partner? How would that affect your overall IT strategy and how would that change your budget requests?


What if your teams could offload mundane work? What would they get rid of first? What is at the top of the list for new features and innovations


What if information wasn’t siloed? How would that change the way you interacted with other teams?

“We want to enable humans to work on higher-value targets. Instead of ‘Hey, I need to go reboot a server’ or ‘I’ve got to spin up another container,’ we want them to leverage automation and AI to do those types of things that are repetitive, mundane tasks. Then they can focus on big-picture things like driving net zero emissions—things that are really important to all of us as part of this planet.”—Melissa Long Dolson

As IT teams build stronger relationships throughout the business, new opportunities, innovations, and even new job roles will emerge.

Developing human-machine partnerships that will engage employees—not enrage them—is an organizational change challenge on steroids. And those that get it right have a lot to gain: organizations that deliver top employee experiences outperform on revenue growth 31% more than others.—The CEO’s guide to generative AI

The CEO’s guide to generative AI
Chapter 03 →
How to implement IT automation
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1 A new way to run the business, IBM Institute for Business Value, 2023.