Are you missing the point?

Here is a key question for you.

Are you wearing your “business owner” hat or your “technology” hat?

Maybe you wear some other type of hat, , , or no hat at all.

Something you may want to consider is what your clients think who use technology and that your IT organization supports (company senior managers, department managers, and users). They wear “business” hats.

There is a natural conflict between business managers and IT managers. Business people don’t tend to see the IT organization as part of the core business, , , after all, IT doesn’t generate any revenue in most cases.

Plus, IT people speak a techy language full of acronyms that business people do not understand, , , nor care to. Things like, , ,  SAP, USB, ITIL, VoIP, WAN, Cloud, POD, WiFi, PMP, , , etc.

Granted, many of these have become common terms, but IT people have hundreds if not thousands of acronyms we use, and business people don’t understand what we are talking about half the time. This is not good for your client nor for you.

This language difference helps create a gap between business people and IT.  Most managers of the company are thinking “business” and IT managers are thinking, , , yes, you guessed it, , , “technology”.

Business managers in general don’t profess to understand the technology, , , they focus on their areas of responsibility, , , and that’s either operating a part of the business or supporting the business.

For a business manager, it’s all about the financials. 
IT organizations sometimes get a bit confused. The desire to work with technology and a lack of desire to become strong communicators who invest in understanding the business causes them to drift away from their business clients.

If you wear a “technology” hat, your business clients don’t hear you let alone understand you. To them, you are simply a lost soul trying to force your technology on them, , , and they don’t like it very much.

They view IT as the organization that’s always changing the technology they have become accustomed to and causing havoc within their operations.

They don’t understand the changes IT dictates nor the reasoning behind most of it, , , they simply want to do their job with as little interruption as possible, , , and they don’t like IT getting in their way.
So what’s the point?

The point is that I see many IT managers who “miss the point”!

To gain partnership status in your company along with respect and appreciation for what you do, , , you have to meet the business on their ground, , , not on yours, , , not half way, , , on their turf. And their arena is all about financial aspects, budgets, and business value.

The bottom line is that if you can’t hold your own in a financial benefits discussion when recommending a technology initiative, your requests are probably not going to go anywhere.  Best case is that you get approval but the business manager doesn’t fully understand it, , , not a good scenario and opens the window for your IT organization to be considered out of sync with the business.

When you make any recommendation that requires spending money (and most of our IT initiatives definitely require money), always put yourself in the person’s shoes that you are making the recommendation to, , , and ask yourself one simple question that your client is asking himself,  “What’s in it for me?”

Business owners only want to spend money that provides some tangible value, , , so put your “business owner” hat on in all aspects of managing your IT organization.

One of the best IT situations I’ve observed in over 40 company acquisition assessments was the one where the CIO was a 50% owner of the company. He and the business were 1,000% (that’s 10 times more than 100%, you know) in sync with one another, , , it still gives me chills when I think about it because it was so good to see.

When your senior manager sees consistency in what you recommend, , , that there is tangible and quantifiable business value that truly cost justifies your recommendation, he or she listens.

When you deliver the goods, , , the benefits you expected and a project delivered on time and within budget, , , your credibility rises quickly.

Consistent high value recommendations and a track record of delivering your projects successfully sets you apart from your counterparts. All of a sudden, you will find senior management wanting to hear what you have to say, , , not avoid your conversations.

Wear your “business hat” and you will see a difference in how your clients appreciate and respect what you are doing.

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