speed of light

‘IT’ is coming towards you at the speed of light, are you ready?

Information Technology ‘IT’ is permeating every aspect of our lives but are we ready and more importantly do we know what we want and need from technology?

For many years ‘IT’ and other services have almost lived in their own self-contained silos each wary of the other and guarded of their budget and area of responsibility. I have often heard managers say, let’s keep ‘IT’ out of this or, can we implement this without ‘IT’ involvement and to be truthful you can understand why.

Suggestions or new solutions are often met by a stream of reasons why they cannot be completed, rather than why they can be. I know I was one of them, but in defence of the ‘IT’ teams they have been bitten time and time again by over promising and under delivering. After a while you air on the side of caution and try to ensure you have all the permutations before committing to any new venture.

Sometimes the problems are technical, sometimes logistical and sometimes it is just a lack of interest. However, whatever the reason we need to overcome and harness the deliverable of ‘IT’ as it is not going away any time soon.

So what is the answer? Well in my view there is no easy solution, you can’t change attitudes, culture, processes and bureaucracy overnight.  What you can do is learn how to work together to break down the silos. Understanding how your technology fits into the wider scheme of things will not only allow you to work more effectively with ‘IT’, it will also ensure that ‘IT’ works for you.

Here are my top 10 tips for harnessing ‘IT’ within your business unit.

  1. If in doubt ask, if you’re still not sure, get external help. Sometimes consultants can be useful and can save you a lot of money.
  2. Ensure you know what you want to do. This may sound obvious but it is easy to fall into the trap of doing something without fully understanding the implications, costs or change required to make it work.
  3.  Can this be delivered in isolation? Again this may sound like an obvious question, but the answer is not always that simple, even the easiest installation will normally have touch points with other parts of the organisation.
  4. Engage ‘IT’ early and get their thoughts, you may not like them; but at least you will understand their objections and you can ask the right questions to your consultants or suppliers later.
  5. Look outside the box. Don’t just focus on the problem or delivery, look around and try to see how this can enhance other aspects of the business. Selling a concept, process or new way of working is always easier if other people think it is a good idea.
  6. Have your reasons well defined. The number of times I have been asked to implement something and when you question why? No one really knows the answer. There is nothing more demoralising than doing a job knowing it is the wrong thing and likely to cost the company more than it really should.
  7. Look at automation as a way of reducing complexity and mundane tasks. Also look at how you can link tasks to provide better visibility and control.
  8. Understand you limitations and knowledge and use this to your advantage. Make people accountable for the solution and to ensure that it is appropriate for you and your organisation.
  9. Move away from the “more of the same concept” look to see how technology can enhance and assist. It doesn’t all necessarily cost money sometimes it is process change that can have the ultimate effect.
  10. Question the status quo. You don’t necessarily want ‘new’ for the sake of getting the latest gadget but you do want the tools that are going to make your unit more productive, profitable and flexible.

‘IT’ is not going away and more importantly it is only going to keep coming at an ever increasing pace. None of us can keep up with the pace of change; however, we can work together to leverage technology to make our work easier, more fulfilling and generally more enjoyable.

The main thing is to know what you want, know your limitations and get the right people in at the right time to ensure that technology delivers on your needs and aspirations.