It’s important in these days of fiscal conservancy for IT leaders to participate in large decisions – that is, “business” decisions. Particularly with the downturn in the economy, there is fresh opportunity for the IT leader to partner with senior business counterparts, to shine in examining business directions and goals, and in matching right-sized, cost-effective and successful ideas and solutions in support of robust and better business.
It helps if the IT department itself is firing on all cylinders, of course. The IT leader must be fully successful in that realm, in partnering with the senior executive class elsewhere… in addition to boards and outside partners or authorities.
Aside from the obvious necessities of systemic requirements: uptimes, performance, recoveries, solutions, etc., there is the necessary standardization (and therefore efficiency) of roles in IT (with appropriate overlap and backup), a ready handling of politics (oh yes), and the dealing with changing expectations for IT – often demands by business that are extreme and even unreasonable. Perhaps handling the “unreasonable” with dispatch is key to ultimate success.
Once IT is successfully incorporated into the “business decision” realm, it is seen less as a pure cost center (and an ever growing one, at that), and more as part of the forward momentum, the drive, of solutions. That is to say, solutions for better, and more profitable, business.
For the IT leader, and any person working in IT, consider your language when engaging your business counterparts: Speak to them in their language, to their level of understanding. When stretching their comprehension and knowledge, do it without breakage – and monitor that they’re “getting it.”
Build trust, show results, and bring ideas to the table for better business that exceeds the envelope of pure IT – be sure to illuminate the whole view – and be sure to understand it yourself!
Stand, and deliver.
August 31st: On this day in 1887, Thomas A. Edison patents the Kinetoscope (which produces moving pictures)