That approach made a huge difference to NextGear's fortunes when the economic downturn hit in 2008. IT had recently launched predictive analytics for its loan portfolio, and the analysis turned up a troubling trend: Car dealers who borrowed from the company were keeping inventory in their lots longer and paying back loans more slowly than they had in the past. After discovering that, NextGear determined that it could help keep its borrowers in business (and paying their loans) by encouraging them to sell hard-to-move cars at auction and avoid being overstocked. "We were able to spot warning trends six months earlier than our competitors," Brady says.
It all goes along with the philosophy of continuous improvement, she adds. "Just because a process is working well doesn't mean you should be happy with it."
Besides, Broadway notes, if you content yourself with keeping things running smoothly, you risk taking yourself out of the top management loop. "You're not actively applying your acumen to the business problems of the day, so you're not part of the conversation," he says. "And you should always be part of the conversation -- whether it's about IT or not."
Zetlin is a technology writer and co-author of The Geek Gap: Why Business And Technology Professionals Don't Understand Each Other And Why They Need Each Other to Survive. Contact her at email@example.com.
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This story, "IT: Don't let the CEO wonder what you do all day" was originally published by Computerworld.