After reading the last few posts by nickmalone and Jordan I started to think back about the companies that I have either observed or been employed by and I realized one thing. There’s a large disconnect between the technical people and the business people. Now I realize that some of you already know this but hear me out. I think this causes more problems than many realize. NickMalone’s post is a great example of what can happen when that gap isn’t addressed, and Jordan’s advice of value added statements is a great way to start fixing the problem.
As many of you know, I have my Bachelors in Information Systems, which is more of a pure Information Technology degree as it had very few business classes. I was very happy just learning about how to program and network computers. The more I learned about networking specifically the more I thought I knew about succeeding in the business environment. The last quarter of my Bachelor’s degree I took an Advanced Oracle Database class. That class introduced me to a whole new thought process behind IT, that of IT is there to solve business problems. Before that I hadn’t really but how IT related to business. Now some of you may be saying, of course IT is there to solve business problems, what else would it be doing. But I want you to think about any current or past IT project that you may be on. What was the purpose? There are always cut answers of improving user experience or improving the way the business functions but what really was the main goal behind the project. What was it going to do to help that particular company succeed?
That is what I believe is the main point/goal behind Nick and Jordan’s last posts and what I believe is the fundamental problem in IT departments. To many IT professionals can make computers do amazing things but they have forgotten that IT is there to help businesses succeed, not the other way around. I am sure there are cases where it is different but even for companies that specialize in IT consulting or Software design, every IT system should have a purpose and should be directly correlated to a business function. Once that business goal or function is made aware and focused on I believe that IT projects will be smoother and stop having the Business needs vs. Personal needs issues that NickMalone talked about.
Now I don’t mean to sound like this is all a problem with bottom-level IT people. When was the last time you heard about an Executive of a company want to implement some new technology that they read or heard about? Maybe they heard about want to implement a type of Social Network on their intranet and tell their direct reports to start making a business case for it. Here again is another face of the same problem. You shouldn’t make business cases for technology. You should make “Technology Cases” for business problems. It might be a slight adjustment but think about how many times technology gets implemented without proper planning so it fails. If executives, managers and underlings alike were to start the planning and implementation phases of every project linking everything back to specific business problems, businesses would spend less and be more productive overall.
Now I realize that I don’t have the years of experience of others who are reading this blog so I ask for your thoughts. When was the last time you started a project that failed? Did you know the main purpose behind the project? Was that purpose if you did know it? Have you seen a difference between projects that directly relate back to business goals and ones that are unclear of business goals? Now this doesn’t address fully the change management side of things but I but I believe that if employees truly understood how these specific technology implementations helped not only them but the business as a whole you would have less push back, and believe me, being in Security, I know about users pushing back on new technology implementations, but that is a whole different post.