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Why do companies have IT departments?

Why does IT exist? What is IT’s purpose?

I’ve been looking for answers to this question online and by interviewing people who should know: IT decision-makers, IT professionals and business decision-makers. (By the way, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic too. But let’s get back to the later…).  A quick search online reveals that:


The purpose of IT is to improve an organization’s productivity. Period.


One person I interviewed put it like this: “The purpose of (our) IT is to offer the employees the best available tools for success.”  Sounds good... But when I dug a bit deeper to see how IT is set up to achieve this goal, I realized that the reality is often far from the goal.

One IT director admitted to me that from an employees’ point-of-view, it may actually feel like IT is there to make work more difficult for them.

When I talk to people that I went to business school with who have advanced to senior positions, or when I interview business decision-makers, I realize that they’d like to see IT as a source of productivity. But, in reality, IT is often seen as an obstacle to productivity, or as a necessary evil.

Most business leaders want IT to focus on making sure that their own – and their team’s – computers are working smoothly: on the digital employee experience.



Tasks can be outsourced to service providers, but the responsibility for good IT services remains in-house

In terms of workstation environments, there seems to be, in economics terminology, “a race to the bottom”: a destructive race to the lowest price and cost chase where there are no winners. This phenomenon is especially visible in outsourcing.

IT is generally seen as a cost center so there is pressure to save money. The focus is on lowering costs rather than providing value.
When companies outsource IT, they generally focus on the costs of the various offers rather than focusing on the value the managed service provider can bring to the company. So, too often, the lowest price wins.

But what about the employees then? Will the managed service provider who is pushed to keep costs down keep your employees’ computers and software in top shape so that they can get their work done? I have my doubts.



Measuring digital employee experience is becoming a requirement

Gartner has estimated that by 2025, 70% of digital business initiatives will require IT leaders to report on the business metrics from digital experience - up from less than 15% today. So, being able to show the level of your employees’ digital experience will become more and more important - even necessary - in the coming years.

This is a great thing for IT departments because when they are able to show positive development in digital employee experience, and back it up with figures, the mindset will shift from cutting costs to creating value.


By ensuring employees’ digital tools work properly, you help ensure the investment made in your workforce

Let’s look at this from another angle: that of employees as an investment. Let’s look at the cost of an employee for the company. Let’s use 5,000€/month as an average cost including salary, payroll expenses and so on. That’s 5,000€/month or 60,000€/year or 180,000€ in three years (which is a common life cycle for a computer).

Given this 60k€/year level of investment in an employee, does an additional cost of 1 – 2€/month to ensure that their tools work – ie. that they have well-functioning and smooth-to-use computers and software – seem reasonable?

Looking at the calculations above, it seems absurd not to ensure that expensive employees have the proper tools to be productive. Not making sure that their computers and software are working correctly is the wrong place to save – a classic example of a ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ situation.

Applixure is an easy and inexpensive way for IT departments to get the visibility they need to ensure that employees’ computers and software are working properly. It’s a endpoint monitoring tool which shows you at a glance where problems lie, and provides the data you need to get to the cause so you can fix it. Read more on our product page >>


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Harri Turtiainen

Harri "Small Improvements" Turtiainen

CEO & co-founder



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