This article, written by Vincent Bieri, Nexthink Co-founder, first appeared on Forbes on October 12, 2018.
There’s a disconnect between business leaders and IT. As noted by a 2017 Forrester study conducted on behalf of Nexthink, just 36% of business users “think IT is aligned with the needs of the business,” even though technology services are now embedded into every aspect of enterprise culture, from mobile device use to wifi access to cloud computing.
Departments like finance, meanwhile, are considered integral to business success — CFOs are key board members, and financial strategy is always part of corporate-level decision making.
So, why the disconnect? Let’s break down the seven digital sins that keep business and IT from seeing eye to eye.
1. Culture Clash
The core purpose of any company? To create and keep customers. All business departments exist for this purpose, but because IT is often tasked with multiple must-do projects at the same time — digital transformation, mobile management and cybersecurity, to name a few — it’s easy for IT departments to become service providers rather than customer creators.
Solving this sin requires a cultural shift to view IT offerings such as enhanced networking and proactive issue remediation as empowering other departments to more effectively capture customer interest.
2. Barren Boardrooms
The CFO is always in the boardroom, but the CIO is conspicuously absent. The result? These barren boardrooms mean companies have no ground-level insight into what’s happening with IT or how the department could help drive corporate strategy. And without CIOs at the table, companies will repeat the sins of the past.
3. Frustrated Finances
Finance and IT don’t always get along. Why? Because the IT department is constantly asking for more: more money for security, storage space or certified and trained personnel. Often, it’s easy for finance to say “no” because these requests aren’t presented in a way that articulates business value.
For IT teams, this means reframing the ask. Cloud services allow the business to serve more customers, and monitoring tools help to avoid regulatory compliance fines. Talk to finance on their own terms and they’ll be more willing to help.
4. Tech Talk
Speaking of talk, IT personnel is notorious for delivering tech-heavy explanations of budget requests and strategy shifts that make it hard for staff and leadership to recognize underlying value. As noted by EDUCAUSE Review, effective IT communication means first understanding the needs of the corporate community and then demonstrating how new technology initiatives address those needs, rather than focusing on the feature sets or key functions.
5. Past Problems
It’s easy for employees to get stuck in the past. IT’s digital sin? Letting them stay there. A history of technology that didn’t quite work as promised, slow service times and lack of communication often puts IT at a disadvantage; executives are inclined to argue about IT choices and require actionable evidence of intended results.
Here, IT can get back into corporate good graces by leveraging digital experience management (DEM) tools that gather real-time, actionable data about how end users actually interact with technology.
6. One Size Fits All
Every business department has differing IT needs. C-suite members need overview data, marketers need easy access to historical consumer data and HR needs a secure way to manage employee information.
Historically, however, tools weren’t available to provide this type of granularity, leading to a one-size-fits-all approach that actually fit no one. The evolution of end-user analytics offers another way, allowing IT to meet end users where they work: endpoints in real time.
7. Fire And Forget
The last digital sin still committed regularly by businesses? Fire-and-forget IT. This is the notion that once a system or service goes live, it no longer requires active management.
But just as customer relationships require maintenance and business strategy requires constant evaluation, companies must recognize the need for continuous IT processes that engage, evaluate, evolve and improve systems outcomes.
Struggling with the seven digital sins in your organization? Improve the connection between IT and business leaders by recognizing historical patterns, shifting expectations and leveraging next-gen technology to meet end users in their element.