“How do you find an extrovert in IT? They look at your shoes instead of their own.”
Wayne Sadin, the Transformational CIO/CDO & Board IT Advisor, says that old joke should not be relevant in modern companies.
Today, IT has moved from the backroom to the forefront. From corporate communication to customer service, technology is dramatically changing how business goals are met. With technology embedded into all business functions, healthy communication must exist between IT and business leaders — in other words, eye contact is necessary.
Very often, Wayne has seen communication failing at an executive level, between CIOs and CEOs. To overcome communication barriers and build a bridge between technology leaders and business leaders, Wayne offers the following advice.
IT Executives Must Define their Role
As Wayne says, IT is like fertilizer. If you spread it around in a thin layer, it helps things blossom: when you pile it up, it just stinks.
However, historically, complete control of technology was seen as necessary for IT to contain costs, meet business goals, and drive revenue. Today, many IT executives still struggle to manage the business’s technology under a centralized model.
When IT is centralized a common cycle persists: when employees are told they are 50th in line for support, they give up and often resort to shadow IT.
Today, to avoid the stink, the democratization of software is necessary. Additionally, to be effective under the necessary decentralization of software management, IT leaders must embrace their roles as facilitators, not owners.
If IT executives do not embrace the roles of innovator, facilitator, and collaborator, relationships will fail, shadow IT will proliferate, and business goals will not be met.
Solve Common Tech Problems through IT Collaboration
When business unit leaders act as inexperienced SaaS buyers, their purchase of shadow IT can cause a host of common technical issues. Through bettered collaboration between the business expert and the technology expert, IT can solve the following tech problems.
Stranded data results when untrained tech buyers within the business buy or build applications that do not integrate with system-wide applications. When IT leaders are viewed as trusted advisors, IT can ensure that the most effective tools are implemented to drive healthy data flow throughout the enterprise.
Difficult interfaces result when IT leaders do not build effective feedback loops. By driving, monitoring, and measuring advancement at the employee level, IT leaders can ensure that interfaces reach high standards of employee experience.
Poor customer experience results when IT is not actively monitoring how employees are utilizing customer relationship management software and customer-facing technology. Wayne recommends IT leaders get in the trenches to understand how technology is, and should be, used by employees and customers.
Poor security hygiene results when controls are not placed around the adoption and use of applications. Under the democratization of software, best practices for application security must be enacted enterprise-wide, meaning IT should introduce corporate learning strategies.
Redundant applications result when IT leaders do not have insight into the application purchases of their business units. In other words, redundancies result when enterprises do not have a SaaS system of record. Redundant applications can be eliminated when IT helps drive the business units’ SaaS adoption best practices.
The Elimination of Tech Problems Innately Drives Business Goals
Without extensive IT knowledge, business units adopt SaaS applications with the goal of meeting a business goal, overlooking potential technical issues. Often, obstacles result that prevent the intended business goal to be met. When IT eliminates these tech problems, they remove the obstacles and drive completion of the business goals.
Then, through continued support, progressive IT leaders become trusted advisors, earning a seat at the table to drive informed decisions before investments are made. Through healthy IT collaboration, IT can work with business leaders to proactively research and adopt the technology that will support business goals and enterprise-wide advancement.