It’s no secret that the relationship between Internal Comms (IC) and IT is sometimes strained, with differing priorities, objectives and timescales causing misalignment between the two functions. But as the opportunities and complexities posed by the digital workplace continue to grow, effective collaboration with your IT colleagues becomes more important than ever.
The Internal Communications function shares a core common goal with IT – to enable employees to do their jobs more effectively. Whether that’s by communicating the organisation’s strategy and direction or by providing access to digital tools that connect employees across the globe, IC and IT often have a very similar North Star.
In this blog, we consider the importance of the IC/IT relationship and explore three actionable ways that the two teams can collaborate more effectively.
The importance of effective collaboration with IT
While internal communication professionals are well-versed in the benefits of effective collaboration, the importance of the working relationship with the IT function is often overlooked.
Globalisation and the increase of hybrid working models have resulted in the reliance on internal software applications and technology platforms skyrocketing. Where the division of responsibility between IC and IT was previously pretty clear, the lines have been blurred as digital workplace tools have evolved into core communication channels.
Establishing a clear ‘owner’ for collaboration technologies, such as your Microsoft 365 tools, is not always straightforward. And while it might seem logical for the ongoing management of your intranet to sit within the IC team, integration with the broader Microsoft Viva toolkit and other applications like Copilot, Teams and Viva EngageYammer will most likely require involvement and support from your IT colleagues.
Effectively integrating these kinds of workplace technologies is an essential part of successful internal communication within an organisation, and collaboration with IT is the key needed to unlock this integration.
A strong working relationship between IC and IT benefits everyone involved, resulting in:
- Better integration between classically ‘IC owned’ and ‘IT owned’ platforms
- A more seamless and engaging technological environment for employees
- Increased IT support with platform maintenance and updates
- An improved alignment and understanding of each other’s objectives
3 ways for IC and IT to be more in sync
The benefits of effective IC/IT collaboration are clear. These three steps will help to establish a positive working relationship between the two functions, leading to a better digital employee experience.
1. Establish common goals
Establishing common goals with the IT function is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page and pulling in the same direction. This kind of goal clarity can lead to higher performance, direction during complexity and healthy boundaries between the teams.
Make sure you’re aware of the goals and strategic direction of the IT team when it comes to digital workplace technologies. Do they have a long-term goal to ramp up the use of a certain platform? Are they planning to move to a new server in the coming months? Likewise, do you have an IC strategy that will involve transitioning to a new intranet, or piloting a new platform for virtual Town Halls?
Getting on the same page and establishing common goals that work for both teams really does go a long way.
2. Invest in building a strong relationship
It might seem obvious, but there needs to be a certain amount of effort from both sides to build a strong working relationship.
IC and IT colleagues should meet regularly, understand each other’s team structures and know who to approach for what.
Build trust by helping out your IT colleagues whenever possible, and acknowledge that the comms channels and collaboration tools are not the only things the IT team has responsibility for. Similarly, your remit as an IC professional is much broader than just your digital workplace tools.
Respecting each others’ time and appreciating the bigger picture will enable you to build a solid working relationship.
3. Involve IT in big decisions
Involving the IT team in big decisions relating to digital workplace tools is a critical part of collaborating effectively.
Your IT team understands the organisation’s tech stack better than anybody, and are the best-placed people to advise and guide decisions relating to new or existing platforms.
For example, a great SharePoint intranet not only needs to look great, have engaging content and clear navigation, but it also needs to be fully integrated with your other workplace tools and talk to your Active Directory. This can only be achieved when the IC and IT teams work together, which is only possible when the IT team is involved in the initial decision-making process around the best intranet solution for your organisation.
Using SharePoint to build a solid foundation for the future
Employee experience is said to be made up of three environments – the cultural environment, the physical environment and the technological environment. So while it’s not defined by your tech alone, having the right workplace tools does have a big impact on your employees’ experience of their day-to-day work.
As an increasing number of organisations are beginning to take advantage of new Microsoft tools like Viva and Copilot, it’s becoming even more important for IC and IT teams to collaborate effectively to ensure seamless integration.
SharePoint is always the best starting point, as it builds a solid foundation that new tools and technologies can layer on top of.
And that’s the ultimate goal, right? To work towards a fully integrated employee experience platform that feels familiar, is engaging, and enables both IC and IT teams to achieve their goals.
Silicon Reef is a Microsoft Solutions Partner with a mission of empowering people to be connected, productive and live a life of balance using Microsoft 365. We optimise our clients’ M365 ecosystems to elevate employee experiences.
Come and say hello to find out more about what we offer, and how we can support your organisation. We’d love to connect.