Posted by: James Murray
For the owner, manager and staff…, business technology can be like climbing a stepladder blindfolded. The bigger the business the higher the ladder. The owner depends on their IT Support Company or IT department to design, build and maintain that ladder. Business owners realize that technology is mission critical to the business.
The question is now being asked, is technology too critical to be left strictly in the hands of the IT department???
For over 21 years I’ve worked in the technology field as a Seattle Consultant and I think I’m finally getting it. The business is more than just the technology; it’s actually about the goals and vision of the owner. This is not the way I started out. An important mentor in my life taught me that business is business. Technology is a tactical not strategic. By understanding this you can write your own ticket in terms of the projects you want to implement. Until a few years ago my ticket was interesting projects. I loved walking into businesses and looking for opportunities to deploy new technology. I later found as a consultant that most IT guys could only get interesting projects when the technology failed. So I began teaching IT experts how to build a technology ladder that supported the business and was interesting to the technologist. It’s starts with the abilities.
And many more abilities
You can probably name two or three more. What I found is that if I wanted to get a project through, I needed to pick one or more of these abilities that was important to management. Where do you find what ability is important to management? Well you could ask, but that’s slow and tedious. So when was the last time you looked at a mission statement or a vision statement? As a consultant I work with so many businesses and see so many mission statements that the employees have never read. The reality though is that the CEO and the Board spent a lot of time putting those together. Want to impress them? Write your proposal bases on their mission statement. Use one or more of the abilities I’ve described, to base your metrics on that will measure the success of your project.
So if the vision statement says something like…”… we will be the biggest widget maker is Seattle.” They are talking about scale-ability. Scale-ability is a data design that will allow the business to grow to the biggest in the area. So the value statement for whatever you write about must be based on building a scale-able business that won’t fail when the business grows to half to their goal. Instead you want to sell a business that will grow past the present goals. This will make the managers take a second look at your proposal.
So what are some of the other keywords to look for? Well think about the company who “…wants to provide the best customer service?” This is about connectivity of data so that every department knows the same information about the customer when they talk to a customer.
Some companies want a great environment for their employees. That’s reliable and available services that allow the employee to focus on work rather than failure.
Managers are always looking for Usability so that customers and employees have systems that are easy and fun to use and require very little training.
I can go on and on about this. Often I come into environments where the IT department has been asking for the same thing I am recommending to the client. They assume that the real problem is price and budget. The real problem is that IT people are not thinking about the real goals of the organization. By understanding how these business abilities translate into the technical project you want to implement you can create a document that will allow you to get your project done.