Last week I blogged about the relationship between IT and the rest of the company getting to the point where in many organisations the IT function refers to the rest of the company as “the business”. Whilst there are myriad reasons for this – I personally blame ‘best practice’, ITIL and outsourcing as key drivers. I believe that we need to go back to the good old days of where IT departments and IT leadership is shaped to analyse, support and improve a business…

On the flipside to what I was talking about last week, I constantly hear moans from employees of larger enterprises that their ‘IT is rubbish’ they have particularly low opinions of their IT departments and those who work there. One of the best comments I had about the blog last week is one that frequently strikes me also – digital plumber.

I’ve worked in construction for a long time, so I know the plumber is up there in terms of tradespeople. I know the analogy is there to convey that we put the pipes in that makes the data go round the system, but if you think about it – whilst IT is a well-regarded profession, we’re often just called in to clear up a blocked toilet too – in the proverbial sense, not the literal one… in most cases.

See you call your plumber in when there’s a problem, just like when you call your IT department in. I sometimes wonder if getting plumbers involved at the planning stage of a new build whether you’d get a better system – one that the toilet doesn’t block up so much. Whilst building regs may say you need a fail of so many millimetres per meter of drainpipe, maybe practical experience would add value to the overall design.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you don’t want to have a business that is constantly having to deal with ‘ahem’ faeces (again not the literal sense) – then why not involve your IT people in the planning phases. Your organisation’s IT isn’t something that you should keep at arm’s length that you only call in when there’s a problem or something needs doing.

Give them visibility of the project, the overall strategic objectives and most importantly… the budget. We’ll all admit as IT people our imaginations and enthusiasm for developing a solution can get away from us and sometimes the budget too – but give us the constraints in advance and we’ll give you the best we can for the limitations you set. What we can’t do is work wonders after you’ve already kicked something off and be expected to clean up the mess (or the overflowing toilet).

IT is a business leader’s responsibility as much as IT, in order to be an efficient organisation – leaders need to get over themselves. It’s okay not to know as much as your IT guys about IT, that’s what you pay for – speak in outcomes, don’t speak technologies. A good IT leader will be able to talk to board members in strategic goals and his own team in the technical specifics of what he or she wants done.

Isn’t it time you maybe improved the relationship with your IT teams? Unleashed deliver not only technology, but work with IT and Executives in changing working methods and attitudes within organisations to align the two and improve performance. Measurably. If you’re interested to find out more, then please do get in touch.