The role of IT is rapidly changing as more business units are beginning to take on their own technology projects. According to a recent study of 708 CIOs, forty percent said that they make 50 percent or less of the IT decisions for their companies. 39 percent said that business departments buy their own technology without consulting IT “often,” “very often,” or “most of the time.”

With this shift in the workplace, where is IT heading? As projects are outsourced and non-technical teams procuring their own tech projects becomes the norm, CIO’s are being charged with re-thinking their departments and shifting them from cost-centers to centers of innovation, proving they can enable a more modern enterprise by:

Proving They Are Forward-Thinking

Think of what your organization’s business users need before they do. Do this by talking to employees, sending out surveys, holding focus groups and ensuring the CIO has a seat at the executive table and is always aware of the corporate pain points. Consider which new programs, advanced technologies, and new innovative initiatives have the ability to improve efficiency among users and increase competitiveness in the market.

Proving They Are More Than a Cost Center

The old saying goes that you must spend money to make money, and that is true. Just like other administrative departments within an organization, the IT department is a necessary cost. As a core function of the business, CIO must work with IT to prove they aren’t spending on unnecessary technology and processes that aren’t improving functionality, and are running at an agile level.

It is usually the Vice President of IT who reports to the CIO and is responsible for the day-to-day processes of ensuring efficiency by getting the best value for dollars spent, and making sure service agreement terms are met. The CIO and Vice President of IT can further work together by taking those dollars saved to improve other front-office functions that drive innovation.

Proving They Know the Value of Data

Data is the most valuable asset that any organization has in its weaponry. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2019, 90 percent of organizations will have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in place. While a CDO has a critical role, if your internal IT team has the ability and capabilities to manage data analytics already, the role may not be necessary.

However, in order for your IT department to prove its ability to manage your data, they must show how it is more than an expense and a source of value for the organization. Productivity in business has increased slowly in the last decade and has recently plateaued. It is the role of the CIO and IT to connect your organization’s value stream of data and turn it into an automation tool that increases productivity and efficiency.

Once your IT department can successfully prove they are forward-thinking on the latest modern technology that promotes agility and cost savings, you will be well on your way to being an innovation center of the enterprise.