Nick DellNick Dell, IT manager at Midway Products Group, shares how he transformed his IT organization and changed the mindset of how people in the company think about technology.

Companies cannot survive without an IT department.

Many small-to-midsized businesses have this idea that the IT team’s responsibility is to install and maintain employees’ computers. However, their job responsibilities extend far beyond this antiquated notion. Yet, some organizations overlook the fact that IT plays a crucial part in a company’s overall operation.

Nick Dell experienced this first-hand when he took over the role of IT manager at Midway Products Group, a Monroe, Michigan-based automotive supplier.

“The first thing I heard when I got there was ‘IT’s a necessary evil – it’s the helpless desk.’”

Before Nick arrived at Midway, the previous IT manager’s motto of doing business was, “Keep your head down, do whatever the business says, and you’ll have a job.” That same manager also outsourced most of the company’s technology needs so if anything went wrong, the consultants were to blame.

From there, it was Dell’s mission to prove that IT can solve business issues on a daily basis. He replaced the consultants with lower-level associates and promoted within the department to give senior-level staff more responsibility and more ownership of their work.

“That ownership,” Dell says, “transformed the department because now they cared about their environment.” This led Dell and his staff to complete a large-scale wireless deployment and upgrade their cloud-secured MPLS network to a cloud SD-WAN security infrastructure without the help of consultants.

IT now has a future to build upon

Dell has altered the way his business deals with his organization. He meets with each business unit quarterly to listen to their issues and explain how IT is working to either solve a problem or shows how his team can fix the issue.

It is incumbent upon each midsize enterprise to change their thinking from telling IT leaders what they wanted from the department. Instead, explain what they are trying to solve. That way, the two departments can collaborate to solve the problem.

Once this pattern starts to take shape, upper management will realize the importance of technology in their organizations and look to IT to create new ideas that will support the future of the business.