Today there is a sort of competition among IT people to show how close to business they are and not to maximize their contribution to business value creation by excelling in the work that is expected from them
I am not exactly a WhatsAppian but I loved this WhatsApp forward. “Because of IT people,” it said….”all banking systems continue to function”, “all hospitals are functioning”, “your kids are learning online,”…it went on, giving at least a dozen examples.
IT managers are not recognized by common people because they work in the background. That is quite understandable. But don’t the other functional managers know their value? If some of them pretended otherwise, I am sure they would have no excuse after the COVID-19 outbreak and what IT managers did to make the business running. Or should I say our economy, our country running?
Within IT too, there’s a pecking order that has been created. An infrastructure guy, a development guy, a security guy, a data guy and a business applications guy…have different perceived value in that order. I do not want to get into the specifics, but look at what each of these groups have done during the COVID-19 crisis in making your organization run and compare it with the pre-existing pecking order and see if the two (importance of the work done during COVID-19 and the perceived importance pre-COVID) are in sync.
The reason I raised this is, today there is a sort of competition among IT people to show how close to business they are and not to maximize their contribution to business value creation by excelling in the work that is expected from them.
Of course, being in IT today means understanding business requirements thoroughly. That could be the market dynamics, HR needs, financial challenges and so on. But that does not make you a marketing or sales guy or an HR person. You are supposed to do IT well. If to do that, you need to understand business well, so be it.
Five years back, I wrote a piece for CIO&Leader (ITNEXT’s sister publication): Should you be apologetic about being in IT? That was before I joined 9.9 Group. There I had given example of a discussion between celebrated director, Mehboob Khan and music composer, Naushad about the role of each of them in a movie to illustrate my point.
In these five years, things have changed even more. Thanks to easier availability of tools that are easy to use, many business users today are not scared of using IT. That is good for business. Yet, some, who relied on IT executives for help in every step, think this independence of being able to use IT is synonymous with being at par with IT guys in terms of their tech knowledge.
While everyone recognizes the value of technology in business, not all realize the importance of Enterprise IT function. COVID-19 showed everyone the value of Enterprise IT.
Let’s steer clear of the constant bombardment of marketing messages from vendors that try to confuse and realize each other’s value and have a healthy respect for each other.