IT in the Enterprise
Since the beginning of information technology (IT) time, IT departments and the professionals that staff them have been notoriously at odds with, well, the rest of the company. CMOs and CIOs have had different agendas and conflicting interests, technologists and business professionals have vastly different ways of thinking, as well as communicating, and end users of company hardware, software and mobile assets have felt technologically challenged at best, and mocked and frustrated at worst.
In fact, the phenomena and stereotypical misconception of IT professionals, as well as the generalized dismissal of the business professional’s ability to think in technical terms, or even use a computer efficiently, has been so widespread that even Saturday Night Live, the American late night sketch comedy and variety show, had a regular satirical sketch called “Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy” which featured an archetypal IT support guy who would deride anyone who asked for assistance, with “typical” catchphrases like “MOVE”, which commanded people to just get out of their desk chair so he could take over and do it himself, as well as a sarcastic, “YOU’RE WELCOME” once the problem was solved.
Getting into the psychology of different personality types based on brain function goes beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that though there may be differences, each professional brings to the table something of tremendous value. As we move deeper into an era of a technology dependent business environment, it becomes increasingly important that the divide between IT professionals and business professionals be bridged.
So how can we make a change for the better? Here are 5 Ways to help increase mutual understanding and appreciation, if not affection, between IT and business pros.
1. Attitude is everything
Though it is hard for technologists to understand how business people think and vice-versa, having an attitude of gratitude for what the other brings to the table is a huge start toward crossing the chasm that has long separated the two. To accomplish this, both departments need to work closely to understand each other’s needs. Assigning a specific IT person to a particular group of marketing people is a good start. This person should represent the marketing needs in the IT department and explain its importance in an enterprise level.
Ironically, there is indeed a technological solution to help alleviate many of the frustrations that stem from perceived lack of service or attention to detail from the IT department. With a good service desk software platform in place, IT Departments can prioritize tickets, thereby creating organization and a massive reduction of redundancies. Processes can be automated to increase workflow speed, end users can take advantage of self-service options like FAQ pages and articles to get the answers they need quickly and easily. Finally, tickets, assets and IT tasks can all be managed and controlled in one place.
3. Adopt ITIL-Certified processes
The company should encourage all employees, regardless of function, to understand them though seminars, webinars, white papers or through company manual distribution.
4. Establish relationships
Enterprises can encourage collaboration and cooperation through team building exercises and bonding opportunities like company lunches, coffee klatches, happy hour or sport activities. All of these are great ways to create the sense of a community of “us”, rather than a divisive environment fraught with “us” verses “them”.
5. Use social media
Use Social Media to gauge issues that end users are facing within the enterprise, but also as a social help desk and digital meet-up. Sometimes a simple how-to question can be answered quickly and easily by one’s peers, and colleagues can offer up anecdotes or tips and tricks based on their own experience. IT Departments can also utilize these platforms to answer questions, share and proactively address common questions, issues and end-user functionality of programs, software and hardware, and mobile assets.
Ilan Hertz is the VP of Marketing at SysAid Technologies, a leading provider of IT Service Management solutions, deployed at over 100,000 companies around the world.