Michal Krigsman’s recent blog post, ‘IT has no inherent value’ summarizes a research paper, MANAGING THE REALIZATION OF BUSINESS BENEFITS FROM IT INVESTMENTS, in which the authors present a model for benefits realization, and make the argument technology by itself offers no benefits nor creates any value. While this argument can easily be defended, the same argument can be made about just about any tool or device out there. A paint brush has no value by itself, but put it in the hands of a talented artist, and a masterpiece may emerge. The same can be said for technology, unless you use it, and use it properly, it will add no value.
Before we throw all the problems with technology on the user (business) community, the IT community has a stake in this as well. Because, like it or not, when a technology project does not meet the desired objectives, IT gets blamed, even though it may have been the “business” that failed. So, how can IT add more value? Because of the unique position that IT holds – involved in every area of an organization, like a blanket covering a bed, IT leadership has some great opportunities to help an organization improve.
Here are some ways to enhance the value of IT:
1) Figure out how the business makes money, and understand the process. This may be common sense, but how often is it common practice? Find out how you can improve that process by either enhancing the revenue stream or reducing costs.
2) Be a champion / catalyst for improvement – not just change. It has been said, every improvement is a change, but every change is not an improvement. Don’t just promote change for the sake of change. Promote change for the sake of improvement. Once you have done #1, this will be easier.
3) Work across the organization to bring people together – be a collaborator. Since IT is involved in every facet of an organization, who better to bring people together when there are issues, or to help solve a problem. Speaking of problems:
4) Solve a problem for a business owner. Find out what problems the line of business leaders are having, then use technology to help solve their problem. Ideally, this would be technology that already exists in the organization, but is not being utilized to its fullest extent, or it may be new technology.
5) Provide and support the technology tools the business owners need to improve. Work with the business leaders to understand their needs and what tools they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. Make sure you are providing them the support they need to be successful.
6) Educate business owners on technology. This is a constant and it never ends. Constantly be educating the business leadership on what technology is available, and how it can help them improve.
Getting started on these is relatively simple, but not easy. Then again, anything worth doing rarely is.