The Business-ification of I.T.
We've all heard and read about "The Consumerization of I.T." As a result, younger generations are entering the workforce with a tech savvy that is far beyond what anyone in the I.T. industry has had to deal with yet. Any policy that an I.T. department puts into place, and tries to enforce, is becoming easier and easier to bypass as technology becomes so much more advanced and prevalent. But, this is a topic for another day.
Right now, I want to address "The businessification of information technology", a phrase which I am hopefully coining. All too often, I.T. is considered to be nothing more than "Computer Support".
- Can you help me sync my outlook?
- Is the internet down?
- I have this blue screen with all these weird letters and numbers.
- Can you replace my toner cartridge?
- What is this cloud thing anyway?
If you are a decision maker in a medium to large business, read carefully. You possibly have an untapped talent pool at your fingertips that you've never even considered before. I'm not talking about "PC Pro Grad Justin", I'm talking about real I.T. people.
Real I.T. people don't just have a knack for efficiency, they obsess *over it. *Real I.T. people don't just solve complex problems, they enjoy *them. *Real I.T. people **design and build enterprise grade software, databases, and networks from scratch. **Real I.T. people plan, type, and click their way through the logistical nightmare of a major server, data, or network migration with little or no downtime. Real I.T. people have taken a hobby, and turned it into a relatively lucrative career.
It's no question that your I.T. support infrastructure is critical to keeping your business sustainable. It's no question that I.T. is largely considered a cost center. But, what if your I.T. department could not only effect the bottom line, but directly -- positively -- effect the top line.
"There is only so much money you can save, but there is no limit to the amount of money you can make."
In most cases, the I.T. department is at the core of everything your business does. They work directly with everyone from your road warrior sales team, to the highest levels of executive management. Being such experts in efficiency, logistics, and problem solving; why not have them look at your business processes? Why not ask them, "How can we make our business better?", "How can we improve our communication?", or, more directly, "How can we make more money?"
Your I.T. department is in a unique position to see how everything in your business is related, how every arm of your business affects the other, and where the bottlenecks are. If you employ any real I.T. people, chances are they've already spotted a number of inefficiencies; Chances are, they've already had these conversations among themselves. *Real I.T. people *think outside the box. You may not always like their suggestions -- at first -- but, I recommend trying them. Set up pilot processes and allow them to test their concepts. You may be -- very pleasantly -- surprised.
You can take a real I.T. person, put them into almost any position in your company, and they will be successful. Why? They are wired with logic and common sense. They may not have answers in their head, but they know how to find answers. In most cases, real I.T. people chose their field because there is *always *something new to learn, and it is such a fast paced, ever changing industry.
The phrase "Information Technology" itself represents real I.T. people, but somewhere in time the line was blurred, and I.T. became synonymous with "Computer Mechanic". Think about it, "Information Technology" really means; using technology to better utilize information. By utilize, I mean collect, disseminate, store, archive, move, process, analyze and understand. I've said it before.
"Data, in the right format, is information. Information, with proper analysis, is knowledge. We all know what knowledge is."
Why are big technology companies like Google and Facebook so successful? They were started by real I.T. people. Some companies have already started a conversion. Consider Target for instance, and the recent controversy they faced. The point here is not the controversy, but how they are using their data to gain knowledge. They are using some very savvy data-mining tricks.
You could be ahead of the curve in your industry. You could be the one who pioneers a very tight integration between your marketing and I.T. departments. You could be the one to bridge the gap between I.T. and business, with nothing but insight and sales to follow.