Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

chat Contact the author

thumb_up Relevant message Comment

What Does the IT Department REALLY Do???

i ee —
mre ee a
= =
= a) | Sa —
m= mmr
wm my
= -—
= oe
== [ri
EE es PY ery
Eh | Sle



me - mE
Em. EE ii
a ———| =e -
em Ee
EES gr

At some point in your career as CIO, you will need explain the services that are provided by the IT department to those granting next year's budget dollar, in a way that makes sense to the them. Let me share how I do it.

Your skill in doing so can have a tremendous impact on your ability to get (or increase) budget, people and other resources.

Assume you have approximately 20 seconds to get their attention. If a picture is worth a thousand words, you may wish to use a diagram, rather than a 10,000 page service catalog.  Dropping a 10 pound binder on the desk may have dramatic impact, but not the kind you want.

I see way too many of my colleagues expend inordinate energy on a formal Service Catalog, and at the same time wonder why they were not getting support at the executive table (or budget) to deliver these services.

CIO Success Hint:  If you cannot clearly explain what you do and why it is important, you shouldn't expect to get support for your initiatives.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

If your 80 year old mother doesn't understand what you do, simplify it more.  

That's why a diagram can work wonders.

The chart below is the iteration I'm using at Appleby College, and it breaks out our functional areas and service offerings. (Hi-res version is available here) It also tags the group responsible for delivering these services.


In a previous life, I laid out a version of this diagram in front of the VP I reported to. 

His first comment? "I didn't know IT did all of this!" It was much easier to justify my budget after he was made aware of the services in place.

This also works well for members of the IT department.  They can see where they fit in, and more importantly, contribute to the overall service offering.

Of course there are stacks of supporting documentation to go along with this chart (that's why you have the 10 pound binder), but getting everything on one page in a simplified form was instrumental in building support.

I used Mindjet's MindManager to generate this diagram. If you want to try it, there is a 30 day trial period. It is one of the indispensable tools in my CIO arsenal. 

You may find another (read more affordable tool) that works for you, but I have found the investment in MindManager worth it.

This map gets updated regularly to reflect our current service offering.

What are you using to communicate the value of IT?


Picture: The IT Crowd -

About the Author:

I’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology. I'm also a beBee Brand Ambassador.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at 

thumb_up Relevant message Comment

Paul Walters

4 years ago #16

Kevin Pashuk Yup, 50 % on the ad budget goes who knows where . However no advertising IT department. !! Once chastised by the CEO of Citibank USA who when I told her what I did said, " oh the fluff department" I replied , "madam, no fluff no job for you" ( funny, I recall we lost the account! )

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #15

Thanks Lisa... I think we have approached budgets the same way we approach going to the dentist. We know it's good or us, but we don't exactly get excited about going.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #14

Paul... We IT types get the big budget (if they follow my suggestion above) by being able to tie every thing they do to helping the company mission. As for the marketing department? I once heard a quote (paraphrased) that goes something like. "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #13

Thanks for the suggestion of Simple Mind Rupert. I'll check it out. (

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #12

Thanks Devesh. I can understand why that CIO didn't last. My job as a CIO is to add measurable value to the organization from the investment in technology. It's not really about technology at all.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #11

Thanks Flavio. I do like that quote attributed to Einstein "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #10

Thanks Carmen.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #9

I need to share this with my husband, he will be able to relate. Budget meeting was just last month, always a good time lol

Paul Walters

4 years ago #8

Kevin Pashuk Those cunning IT types make it too complicated for anyone to understand what they do and so procurement simply signs off on their huge budget increases each year , all the while sniggering at the marketing department who get a thorough going over!!

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #7

I had asked this question froma CIO once. His response. I do sensible stuff so that you dont have to do silly stuff. He couldnt quite digest the fact that a new guy like me was deputed to ask the question. In two months he moved to another company, the replacement was a polite chap who pretty much messed up a lot of things. This chart is now really helpful. A reference for a good answer :)

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #6

Although some are surprised, I'm not just eye candy who writes fluff on beBee Jim. Thanks for visiting.

Jim Murray

4 years ago #5

And here I thought you just sat around all day writing blog posts. LOL. Not really. Good post.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #4

Thanks Joyce.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #3

Thanks Javier. In my last position, I interviewed all the senior leadership when I started. The common theme? "IT folks are nice people, but I have NO IDEA what they do."
wow--so cool. Truly the way to go.

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #1

Kevin Pashuk this is true ! If you cannot clearly explain what you do and why it is important, you shouldn't expect to get support for your initiatives !!! and nobody cares about you !!,,, and the worst case scenario would be that .......... people believe you are doing ... "nothing" !!! LOL

More articles from Kevin Pashuk

View blog
4 years ago · 2 min. reading time

When I get old...

I have a problem. · It is most pronounced when I l ...

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time

Avoiding Glassy-Eye Syndrome

I've often shared the story of one of most product ...

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time

Do you really need an IT Vision Statement?

In preparing for my recent post: Innovation starts ...