Businesses have long depended on technology to get the job done. This reliance on technology has long fueled a relationship in which business and IT units have been segregated from one another. The enterprise operates to meet customer needs and drive profits, and IT exists to support those tasks. This longstanding relationship is changing, but how do you adjust your culture around a new world of responsive IT that is built into the fabric of your business?
Making this change is one of the key challenges facing organizations today. The consumerization of the IT movement has created an operational climate in which business and technology teams must be able to work in tandem to not only support one another, but empower other teams. IT units drive business innovation by delivering apps and services that unlock new end-user functionality. Non-tech groups can empower IT to work at its best by complying to internal operating procedures and communicating their needs in productive ways.
Creating a culture where these teams can interact effectively is critical if companies want to take full advantage of the technological changes driving the enterprise forward. Three ways to find success in business-technology relationships include:
“Creating a culture where business and IT teams can interact effectively is critical.”
1. Drive digital transformation
Few things will come between IT and business teams like manual, paper-based processes. Having an accountant dealing with mountains of specialized paperwork try to collaborate with an IT team that needs to track down specific data assets creates an inherent roadblock. Transforming those accounting processes into the digital world with the right apps and services lets the accounting team work on channels that IT users can engage with more easily.
This is just a minor example of how a paper-digital divide can create separation between business units, making it difficult to communicate and collaborate effectively. Transforming paper-based processes into digital operations can bridge gaps between IT and business units by making information and communication tools available within apps and services instead of having it spread over multiple channels.
2. Implement self-service tools
If you want your IT teams to focus on business innovation, they need to be spending less time on supporting users and more on problem solving and special projects. Giving your business users access to self-service tools lets them solve basic issues quickly without getting IT involved. This gives IT teams less to deal with on a day-to-day basis and ensures your operational teams aren’t held back when technology users are slow to deal with an incident because they have other priorities to focus on.
Self-service capabilities drive meaningful responsibility sharing between IT and business teams, breaking down a wall that has separated the two units for a long time.
“Preventing disillusionment is essential when trying to drive consistent innovation.”
3. Develop cross-discipline teams
Many technology decisions are made without serious considerations from business users. The same goes in reverse. Executives with a stake in different parts of the business often impact these choices, but their focus tends to be on big-picture benefits of the choices in discussion, not how, for example, a new app will impact end users. This is where teams featuring business and technology users from multiple levels of the organization is particularly beneficial. Having these diverse users involved in the decisions being made lets you look at choices from a wide range of angles and creates stakeholders across the organization.
With cross-discipline teams in place, you’ won’t have situations like end users shaking their heads at a new tech solution thinking, “This may be great for IT, but this is really going to mess us up on a daily basis.” Preventing disillusionment is essential when trying to drive consistent innovation. Users should feel included in the process and understand that their feedback matters – they are the ones trying to use technology everyday, after all. Bringing cross-disciplinary teams together can pay dividends in this area.
Contemporary businesses face growing challenges integrating innovative technologies into everyday operations. Getting business and technology users to work well in conjunction with one another is critical in finding success here. Overcoming the longstanding cultural gap that has left business and IT teams extremely segregated empowers businesses to change the perception of how these groups should work together and drive business success.