What follows is one of my post that was recently published on AIIM’s site as an “Expert Blogger”. (The original can be read here)
IT needs to be less “T” and more “B”
There is a “feeling” in the world of the Information Professional at the moment that there is too much focus on the “T” in IT. That is, the IT department focuses too much on “technology”. Usually at the expense of what the customer – in most cases the business users – really need.
Sure, the IT department is necessary to install and maintain the technical infrastructure that is necessary to allow a business to run, but then it must not forget that it is there to serve two masters – one is the executive layer who make the decisions regarding the purchasing of the necessary infrastructure (and pay the salary of those working in the IT department), and the other, which is the user of the technology. This is because it is the users of the technology that actually add value to the business.
The business users are the ones that carry out the activities that let the business achieve what it has to to exist. And anything that disrupts this process, or hinders it from being as efficient as it can be, is actually undesirable. This can include such things as the unnecessary installation of “new features”, to applications that don’t really fit with the activity that the business user carries out,
And this is why we have to start focusing less on the “T” (Technology) in IT. I’m not saying that the “T” is not important, but the “B” (“Business”) is also important. There needs to be more focus on the communication with the business. And not just “talking”, but actually more “listening”. And most importantly: “understanding”.
Understanding not only what the business is trying to do, but also how the business user carries out their tasks is incredibly valuable. Understand the business processes, and then configuring the technology in the best way to not only to meet what the business’ objective is, but also to take into account the way the user performs their tasks.
This leads to a more productive environment where the users feel that they are “involved” with the solution put into place, rather than feeling that the IT department has imposed the some cool, but not entirely useful, software solution on them.
We still need IT people who understand the “T”, but it’s the IT people who also understand the “B” and then can translate the “T” into something useful are the ones that are the most valuable.