Why IT Departments should be an asset, not an expense

May 15, 2023

With host Cait Porte, Chief Marketing Officer at Digibee

In this episode of “Integration. Redesigned.,” our host, Digibee’s Chief Marketing Officer Cait Porte, is joined by Field Chief Technology Officer for Latin America, Andre Campos, for a discussion exploring IT departments. Cait and Andre cover topics including how IT departments have evolved, building them, the current perceptions around them, the challenges they face and ways to overcome those challenges, the importance of collaboration between IT and other departments, and the crucial role these departments can play to deliver significant value to their company. One perception in particular discussed is the significant expense of IT for companies while IT struggles to demonstrate their value. Cait and Andre cover how prioritizing IT departments to drive digital transformation efforts can become a competitive advantage for businesses.

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Full transcript


Welcome back to another episode. I’m Cait Porte, your host. And today we are talking with our Digibee Field CTO for Latin America, Andre Campos. Welcome, Andre.


Hi Cait. It’s good to be here again.


Thank you for joining us. 

Very excited about the topic today, which is building an IT department and why that is seen as such a huge expense for a company. I think I may know the headline here, but very happy to have you to talk about this. 

I think we’ve talked about digital transformation a number of times on the podcast and I think we will continue to do that. When we think about digital transformation, it’s a necessary evil, as we say, because we have to do this – IT teams and departments and all of the technology we have available relevant – and it’s expensive and takes longer typically than you expect, creating some frustration between everyone working on anything related to digital transformation and trying to limit the amount of cross-functional frustration that happens. Right? 

Rodrigo talked about how IT departments have lost a little bit of credibility even though they’re so crucial, now more than ever. So why is this the case at some companies? From your experience and past life, what are you seeing? Why are we seeing such a friction between the necessary evil of getting them and where there’s an expense?


I think that we are in a changing period. If you go back in history 20 years ago and thinking about history 20 years is not so. That time, IT was responsible for support business and to keep everything up and running. And every new project took a lot of time and was hard to implement. Everything was manual, and was hard to meet business expectations because of the lack of technology, the lack of understanding. There was not much partners to work together to deliver what was expected. And I think that the combination of everything has created the bad reputation of IT and it’s been hard to change it through the years. It’s been changing, but we are in the middle of this change.


I love that and I think we’re trying to shift the tide, right? And we’re trying to change that perspective or perception of IT. 

When we think about where we are, what do you see as maybe the top challenge that IT departments are faced with in trying to get the support that they need to deliver?


I think that we have to always remember that transformation is not about technology, it’s about people. It’s not about how technology will think, will change everything, but how people will use technology to change everything. I know it’s not that strong, but it’s different. So, how are you going to use the right technology, the right partners, to help people changing their daily basis work? Or help people changing the relationship they have with their customers or the other business that are partners? So handling it, thinking about the business need as the center of everything is key to change and to accelerate the digital transformation.


I agree with that being on the receiving end of digital transformation in the past. But, for a company that doesn’t see IT as a default department sort of just say “yes, we have to have this, because…” When a business isn’t built on technology, how do companies, in your opinion, approach technology, digital transformation, with a mindset that it is a competitive advantage, not just another expense?


I think it is a matter of natural selection. All the companies that – well we are in the moment that we are having changings in the customer behaviors, in the relation between business to business – so there is a lot of things that has to be changed. So, if the company doesn’t face it as something that will make the business better, more performative to match customer expectations, it will be something that will leave them behind the others. They don’t want to create a differentiator, they’ll just be another company and the customer will definitely select another provider. So, it’s key to start this transformation.


Interesting comment there. And I think many companies are faced with is it the people, is it the technology? Is it a mindset shift that we move toward? And, what is going to impact the bottom line? So when you look at those things – I mean, you already mentioned people, you already mentioned that you can’t just get technology – what would you give as a recommendation for other teams to say hey, let’s get it to perform at its best? And, to deliver the most for the company?


I think that this evolution, this change is happening now. And, I think that is happening in a lot of different dimensions. We have more technology available, so it’s easier and faster to find platforms that can help this process, to find good partners, to help these partners. I think that we, you and me, we are immersed in a lot of technology. We have smartphones, we see Netflix and streaming and everything. We can have everything faster. So, we now know how technology can help us in our lives. And I think that because of the changes and the need of meet customers expectations to change the way we relate with other business, this pressure is making the business and IT departments work better together. So, it’s been easier to bring IT from the “doer department” to a “strategic department.” This is the right moment to do that. 

And, I think that the pandemic has accelerated that. Putting IT in now because of the restrictions we had. IT was the most important part to allow the business to keep running. And, I think that knowing business better, having business and technology working together, this is the most important change to go through the digital transformation.


I was thinking about this earlier. In past lives I’ve worked in a product capacity, and the most success – and I know that you are coming from a CIO background and experience,  right? I’m assuming that you’d echo this – in that the most success that we’ve had is when as a product team, we’ve presented from a business lens to the IT department to say, “hey, this is the challenge we’re trying to solve. Help us figure out how to do that.” As opposed to very prescriptively, “here’s the solution, go get it done.” And I think that has always been the case. But there’s certainly more success when we really involve IT from the beginning in solving a problem and utilizing that skill set.


Exactly. Yeah, that’s it. My point of view, IT is the most important agent of change. Knowing better the business and knowing technology. And most important than that, knowing how to apply technology in benefit of the business. So having IT involved since the beginning, applying the right technology, having the right partners. This is very important to have success process.


Absolutely. Well, thank you, Andre, for joining us today. Always a pleasure to have you on. Love to hear the experience about how we can make IT teams look good again, right? And deliver that value.

So thank you for joining us.


Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.

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