Businesses need employees skilled in the field of information technology (IT) for several reasons. Most of all, they need a reliable source of support when computer-based systems fail. When trained IT professionals can fix issues quickly, it allows a business to continue making money. In this article, we discuss the details of how an IT department helps meet business needs.
What does the IT department do?
Most companies, especially those in the digital realm, rely on the IT department to ensure that their network of computers function properly and connect well. The IT department has three major areas of concern, which include governance of the company's technological systems, maintenance of the infrastructure, and functionality of the systems overall. Beyond that, professionals within the IT department work internally on computer software and hardware in many ways that allow a business to be successful.
IT department responsibilities
Each member of the IT department fulfills an important role for the company. Some are responsible for multiple areas of the IT department, especially in smaller companies. In other circumstances, there may only be one IT professional within a company. Here are the main responsibilities within the IT department:
- Technical support
- Company website
- Application development
Whether the IT team is composed of two members or 20, there always seems to be a never-ending list of tasks to be done. Most employees don't realize that the IT team is responsible for much more than fixing computer problems and helping them log back in to the computer when they forget a password.
IT administrators play an integral role within a company and the IT department itself. They are the go-to person when someone needs help with a technological issue or has just joined the company and needs help navigating new equipment. The duties of an administrator may overlap with other team members at times. For instance, the jobs of system administrators and network administrators may have a similar structure but different focus. Some common administrative duties include the following:
- Maintain computer infrastructures of the company.
- Assist new users with computers and software issues.
- Train employees on new systems.
- Perform software updates.
- Renew licenses and other legal documents.
- Monitor ongoing contracts with suppliers.
- Complete statutory forms.
- Ensure compliance with quality standards.
- Assess potential threats.
- Oversee data storage.
When people need access to computer systems or require troubleshooting assistance, they typically get referred to the technical support team. Tech support professionals are especially handy at fixing problems related to hardware and software issues, though their role within the company does not end there. Another large part of their job involves educating people and answering questions relating to the technologies they use. Here is a list of duties they may perform:
- Install new software or hardware.
- Research and procure IT hardware and supplies.
- Participate in IT inventory asset management.
- Assist in backup and recovery of digital assets.
- Troubleshoot network issues.
- Create work logs.
- Process documentation.
- Configure phone systems.
- Serve as an escalation resource.
- Install video and audio conferencing.
- Install and configure new printers, copiers and other equipment.
- Provide and install cloud-based applications/services.
- Repair hardware.
In a business setting, there are several instances where the IT team helps facilitate successful communication between all parties involved. Companies may need to communicate with potential or existing clients through different methods of technology. Meetings and interviews via web technology are becoming increasingly popular with advancements in digital technology. The IT team is trained to assist if those important connections fail. Here is a more detailed list of IT responsibilities tied to communication:
- Set up point-to-point phone calls and conference calls.
- Prepare video and web conferences.
- Maintain and troubleshoot email systems.
- Serve as a consultant to department heads and staff.
- Coordinate security system by adding/deleting users.
- Provide end-user support for computer applications.
- Create back-up copies of data sources.
- Load new data into the system.
The roles within a programming department of a company utilize the skills of a web developer, programmer and possibly other IT professionals in creating new programs that ultimately help companies achieve their goals. They often work with software developers and engineers to translate their designs into workable code. Here is a list of duties specific to this area:
- Develop and enhance business applications.
- Establish new databases using productivity software.
- Establish new databases using productivity software
- Convert printed and electronic documents to ASCII, HTML, PDF and other file formats.
- Use graphic editing applications to copy, edit and save graphics.
- Implement knowledge of application development languages.
Related: Learn About Being a Program Analyst
There are many steps to creating a successful, user-friendly website. The IT team collaborates with the various departments of a company to implement the overall vision of how the website should look and function. Most commonly, the marketing team provides the copy and design content for the site, then passes it along to the IT team for implementation. IT members work behind the scenes to write the code, test the functionality of the webpages and assist with any user experience issues. Here is a list of duties that IT members perform on a website:
- Configure site layout.
- Write and implement website code.
- Test the site for usability.
- Maintain company internal network (intranet).
Members of the IT team may work to create computer programs or applications that help businesses function better. Business apps are especially useful for content management, employee communication, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning. Developers put the apps through a series of tests that ultimately result in useful tools employees and business owners can use. Here are some of the main duties associated with app development:
- Turn software concepts into working programming code.
- Meet with clients to discuss new program specifications and functions.
- Create programming code that performs a task.
- Write documentation to help users operate new programs.
Jobs for IT professionals
Depending on their specialty, IT professionals have many job opportunities available to them. If you're interested in an IT career, consider these 10 jobs: