Leadership / Management | Technology & Social Media

Stop letting IT drive your business

How does technology work in your organization?

If yours is like most other organizations out there, it works something like this:

IT does technology. Period. Your job isn’t technology, so hands off. Nobody’s job is technology except IT. Heck, “technology” is half of IT’s name. Tech issues belong to them — not you, not your boss, and sure as hell not the CEO. The CEO’s job is running the company. Let IT run the technology.

Except, here’s the thing: That kind of thinking is stupid. IT isn’t a department. It’s not a silo. It’s a business solution that helps everyone in your organization go where they need to go.

IT shouldn’t be telling us how our technology works. We should be telling IT how our technology should help us work.

More than any other, that message dominated the conversation at the ASAE’s annual Technology Conference.

John Mancini, president and CEO of the Association for Information and Image Management, led the CEO track at the conference by focusing on a few key trends.

1. The consumerization of technology
A new day has dawned. IT no longer gets to tell us how we need to work. That’s our job. IT is here to serve the business, not the other way around. Mancini calls it the “consumerization of technology,” where workers are driving the course of technology at our organizations by demanding to be able to use the apps and gadgets that best help them do their jobs.

“Every time we turn around, the business has implemented some new app that IT didn't even (previously) know about,” Mancini said. “… Our struggles with innovation will accelerate in coming years, thanks in large part to consumerization.”

2. The ‘Amazoning’ of expectations
Sites like Amazon have raised the bar for our expectations of how technology should work. Employees and clients expect our organizations to deliver an online experience that’s as easy, intuitive and functional as Amazon’s. The key to delivering that type of experience will be our ability to think like our customers.

3. CEO ownership of IT strategies
CEOs are navigators — they chart an organization’s course. Everything else that happens around them should help steer the organization in that direction. That includes IT. In that sense, CEOs must own their organizations’ IT strategies. How many do?

Not nearly enough. Mancini cited research that shows nearly half of CEOs rate their CIOs negatively when it comes to understanding the business and how to apply IT in new ways.

Tech thought leaders Reggie Henry and Thad Lurie put it this way: Innovation through technology separates great companies from good ones. The key new role for today’s CIOs is to help their organizations manage change. That won’t happen until IT lets go of its command-and-control mindset.

Mancini agrees. Among his key objectives for today’s IT decisions is that they are driven by the business, not technology. Among his key traits for today’s IT professional? Their priorities are business first, technology second.

Does your business drive your technology? Or is it the other way around?

The answer may be the key to your organization’s future.


Bill Sheridan