We're all part of the business now



David Taylor

Inside track

When I attend IT conferences, I often hear speakers refer to "the business", presumably meaning all...



David Taylor

Inside track

When I attend IT conferences, I often hear speakers refer to "the business", presumably meaning all departments outside of their own.

However, I have recently been to both HR and finance conferences, and was intrigued to hear presenter after presenter saying "HR and the business," and "finance and the business". I am beginning to wonder who this "business" actually is!

The days of IT being a service department are over. We are now as front-line - and important to bottom-line profit, corporate branding and our company's future - as anyone. I can't speak for HR or finance, but there is no doubt that in this day of e-everything, IT means business and the business is IT.

This changes relationships, processes and attitudes at a fundamental level. Whereas historically we would work with others outside of IT to steer them towards optimum use of technology, to stimulate so-called "end-users" to be creative, now we are as much a part of it all.

In this new world we must engage all parts of our business around effective use of technology, software and applications.

We can do this by:

  • Becoming sales people - these days, the technology is all pervasive, like electricity. We have to talk about its benefits

  • Ending our use of strange, elitist terms that confuse others, and simplifying the technology being delivered, translating it into commercial, business language

  • Identifying champions in each area who will work with you to ensure maximum use of applications

  • Speaking about ourselves, and the solutions, with passion. If we do not openly believe in what we are doing, and delivering, no-one else will

  • Ensuring that projects are prioritised, and the business (including ourselves) are not overloaded. We must become the corporate facilitator to ensure this happens

  • Relocating our teams throughout an organisation - the days of the monolithic ivory towers are over - people still "buy" from people

  • Employing people with business, communication and relationship skills while developing our existing teams accordingly

  • Ensuring new, general technology awareness throughout the organisation, through open days and showcases

  • Providing beneficial, plain English guides to our solutions on your intranet, with no acronyms or techie-speak.

    As I have said many times, imagination has overtaken technology. No matter what we wish to do in this Internet, Wap and mobile age, there will be a technical solution available. Therefore, as IT people, the traditional business is looking to us for guidance and leadership, not the other way around.

    This is a great time to be in IT. We have huge opportunities to lead our companies, and their employees forward, guiding them through the complex future, and simplifying what we do around them. Ignite them in what we do, and our future is certain, and secure.

    David Taylor's Inside Track. A provocative insight into the world of IT in business, is out now. The book is the latest in the Computer Weekly Professional Series, published by Butterworth Heinemann: 01865-888180

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