What is IT Operations? 12 Exciting Examples

What is IT Operations? Learn more about it in this complete article that explains both the IT and Operations part of it

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If you are asking “what is IT operations?” you will find the answer in this article. Not only we will explain what is IT operations, why will see why it is important. This quick guide is ideal for anyone approaching IT or a complex and large company and wondering the role of IT operations.

What is IT Operations?

Not surprisingly, IT Operations merges IT with Operations, two key functions in any modern company. If you already familiar with that, IT Operations is the Operations function within the IT department. Don’t worry, we will break this down further.

What is IT?

IT stands for Information Technology, and it is the collection of all those systems, tools and processes that keep information flowing for a company. It has mainly three key components:

  • Software or applications – they define the logic of how the information is treated
  • System Infrastructure – the hardware that the software needs to perform its operations
  • Connectivity and Networking – how different systems and computers communicate with one another

Of course, reality is much more complex that that, and these three categories are never starkly defined (for example, DevOps make Systems and Software come closer). All of this serves a purpose: keep the information flowing. This may mean processing customer orders fast, paying invoices, creating a complex 3D render of a project, broadcast a live event to all shareholders and so on.

What is IT Operations and what role does IT play in in IT? IT is about moving information
IT, Information Technology, is about storing and moving information around. Datacenters, like the one in the picture, are important to do that.

Some outsiders think that IT is anything tech, but it is not. For example, in a technology company such as Apple, the design and production of iPhones is not part of IT. Keeping Apple Music service up and running is (as part of the Services department, in case of Apple specifically).

What is Operations?

Operations is the function that keeps the light on, it is what pays the bills and gets thing done eventually. Broadly speaking, operations is a set of processes and the people who put those processes into action. To say it another way, operations is “how we do things around here”, plus the people who actually do things.

What is IT Operations and what role does Operations play in IT?
Operations is about getting things done.

Some practical example may make this even clearer. In a factory that produces cars, operations is the act of assembling the car, but also ensuring that you have enough components to build cars (e.g., chassis, engines and so on), as well that ensuring that finished car do not build up but are instead promptly shipped out. Even more, it is about producing the right amount of cars considering demand and capability.

Coming back to Apple, that actually outsources the production of its hardware components mainly to Foxconn, operations is about ensuring suppliers can deliver the right amount of phones at the right time, and correctly forecasting demand.

What is IT Operations?

So now we can finally answer “what is IT Operations?”. Well, IT Operations is simply Operations within the IT department. It ensures that things get done in the IT department, and that information flows correctly and is delivered to the right place at the right time.

It ensures changes to the IT infrastructure are made promptly, and that issues are quickly resolved, ensuring the correct health of all IT system and all the business processes that rely on them.

What is IT Operations? With examples

Some examples will help you clarify the overall picture and better answer the question “what is IT operations?”. The following examples are all things that IT operations does, activities included within the IT operations branch.

  • Preparing the laptop for a new employee
  • Sending out invoices when a customer purchases through the e-commerce website
  • Fixing issues on your laptop
  • Updating the antivirus system
  • Ensuring Microsoft Teams/Zoom/Google Meet meetings are up and running with the correct setting for your organization
  • Making sure all branch offices can communicate with the head quarter
  • Planning enough hardware capacity and servers for the applications to run smoothly
  • Stores securely data about the business for data analysts to dig into
  • Enlarge your mailbox size
  • Enforce some Mobile Device Management on your business phone
  • Ensure the company website is up and running

All these examples can give you a pretty broad view about what is IT operations. In fact, IT operations is about many things, and what the IT operations function will actually do will vary from company to company, and even from industry to industry.

Do all companies have an IT Operations function?

If they are large enough, the answer is virtually always yes. In fact, if you look closer at “what is IT operations?” and check the examples as well, you will see most of the tasks are pretty critical, and the company just needs someone to do them: that’s IT operations.

However, not all companies are so clear about what is IT operations and what isn’t in their organizational chart. Some may divide IT according to technology branches, such as Cloud, Networking, Communications and so on, and each may have its own small operations function, all jointly working together.

If you are interested in learning more about IT Operations, and perhaps you may want to start a career in the field, you can check out the ITIL certification.

What is IT Operations, in Summary?

IT Operations is “how things are done around the IT functions”, plus the people who actually do these things. It is the part of the company that keeps information flowing between departments, suppliers, and customers, all of that using technology.

In modern companies, from small to large companies, it is a crucial function no manager can ignore.

If you want to dive deeper into IT, another good read can tell you about the RACI matrix with examples, often used in IT operations projects.

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Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.
Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.

Alessandro Maggio


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