Why do IT Departments Exist?

The inspiration for this post is the incompetence of my IT department manager at work. Unfortunately, my IT department manager is not special and my company's IT department is not uniquely poor. Many companies have the same internal IT problems that we do. Although there are many issues that cause the subpar IT outcomes that I observe, I believe that I have identified the greatest root cause:

IT department managers either never understood or forget why IT departments exist.

And as it turns out, the answer to the question "why do IT departments exist" is more nuanced than you might think. The very simple answer is: IT departments exist to help non-IT users with computer problems. But this statement fails to account for the much deeper reason why IT departments exist.

In the 1970's, before computers had entered the lexicon of the general public, businesses ran on paper. And they would have continued to run on paper if computers weren't better. Way better. Like, orders of magnitude better.

Computers have increased the average productivity of almost every white collar employee immensely. Computers have also ushered in a new era of communication channels that have allowed organizations to grow in size and shape in ways that were never possible in the analog era.

Despite all of the value computers create, computers occasionally go down, and they can be very complicated to setup and use. Obviously, IT departments are there to help when computers operate sub-optimally. So that brings us back to the original question: why do IT departments exist?

IT departments exist to make everyone else more productive.

Please, IT managers and technicians of the world, please just try to keep that in mind as you make decisions throughout the day. If you believe with all of your heart that your primary objective at work is to help make everyone else as productive as possible, you will be an amazing IT employee. So please, just remember that and care. It's all I ask. Thanks.