Most businesses owners have come to recognize the use of Information Technology as a competitive requirement. But, do you know what your IT Department really thinks about the work that they do? Here's a "behind the curtain view" of their work and 5 things that they won't tell you:
- You don't know what you need. Most IT people will tell you that one of their greatest obstacles at work is an inability to get their internal business "customer" engaged in the process of defining the business requirements needed to be automated. This unwillingness to participate in the systems definition puts the IT team in a position where they have to decide what's right for your business. Do you really want a "programmer" making those decisions for you? Be a good IT customer and work with IT to define your business requirements.
- It's obsolete before it's fully functional. Comprehensive information systems require an inordinate amount of time to define, build/acquire, test/tune and install. It takes so long, in fact, that the systems being developed are obsolete before they become fully functional--either the state of the technology has evolved or the business that it supports has changed. So, tackling a large-scale systems implementation effort by breaking it into smaller, more manageable parts allows for better results to be delivered in shorter periods of time and enables a company to leverage new technology more readily. Stated another way, it's wise not to try to eat the elephant in one bite!
- You need to own less and lease more. Because of the obsolescence factor, it's wise for businesses to begin to look to cloud-based solutions for some relief. By so doing, a business can rent solutions and computing capabilities from vendors who will maintain and evolve those technologies on behalf of their customers--alleviating some of the risks associated with obsolescence.
- They don't possess all of the skills required to do the job.These days, technology evolves nearly at the speed of sound. This limits an IT professional's ability to develop the skills required to keep pace. What to do? Like the technology itself, the people needed to build and maintain the latest technologies can be rented, too. These "hired hands" can be managed by the IT department and be used to augment full-time IT staff.
- You need them to become expert vendor managers. As you may have already concluded from the previous points, the role of the internal IT guru is changing. In fact, a business probably needs them to be a whole lot less technical and a whole lot more able to manage vendors and the projects that those vendors are performing for the business.
In closing, the 2020 organization will prospectively possess a "thinner" IT department staffed by professionals who are strong vendor and project managers that understand the business areas that they are responsible for supporting. Likewise, they will possess a solid information systems foundation, so not to be duped by ill-intentioned vendors. The "nuts and bolts" technology types--ones that love to program and play with technology--will likely find greener pastures with technology vendors where their skills and interests will be better leveraged and appreciated.