If your business uses digital technology in anyway then you should have some sort of forum or group that comes together to talk about it. I always recommend this to any business that I work with as it makes such a difference to the understanding and direction that the company is taking.
There is a common misconception in many businesses that if it is a computer based system then it must have something to do with the IT department, yet this is only true at the most basic level. Most applications within a business are not used by the IT team, except peripherally. Instead they are required by and therefore should be owned by the specific business unit that has the need of the functionality.
The IT team’s job is to make sure that the underlying infrastructure is able to deliver the necessary performance and security to meet the business need. A representative of each of the key applications should therefore be on the group. This does two things: it shows the business owner that they have to take responsibility in the direction and use of the application; and it shows that they cannot do this in isolation from all of the other business applications. The group provides direction and coordination.
The most important thing about an IT Group, however, is that it shows that IT is important. Having senior managers and business function owners around a table, understating where the business technology is going and having a say in its direction and operation is a powerful tool.
There is an old adage that what gets measured gets done and from this we deduce that what is talked about is important. A director or equivalent to chair the group also spells out this message.
An IT group is vital to the strategic direction of any but the most basic of organisations. It ensures that the IT team is a part of the business and not seen as something in isolation and at odds with whatever the rest of the business is trying to do.