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The Rest of the Biz Needs Insight into IT

September 21, 2017 By Walker Hansen - Cloud Business Development Rep
If you aren’t in IT, you generally don’t understand the associated costs. Conversations tend to go like this:

Non-IT: “Why do we spend X number of dollars on this?”  “What is this bill for Y?”  “What does it do for us?”

IT: “Well – [insert technical jargon that nobody outside of IT understands]”

Non-IT: “So…. We still need this then?”

IT: …. (stunned silence that they didn’t understand) …. “yes.”

The problem is there isn’t clear communication and understanding between IT and the rest of the business to describe the benefits of each IT solution. From the IT perspective - solutions are put in place for a reason – but with limited knowledge on the specifics, it is sometimes hard for the rest of the business to understand the benefits.

Some organizations have created ways to boost transparency and increase clear communication between IT and the rest of the business. The State of Washington has created the Technology Business Management (TBM) program for this very reason. Their hopes are to create a conversation as to what their IT spending is getting them and where the business benefits from each solution.

In its infancy, TBM is set to track and chart data to see where value is being added by individual projects. The long-term goal is to maximize cost savings, create an insight as to what IT solutions are doing for the organization, and allow higher level non-technical business leaders to engage in the conversation.

I see this program having two long-term advantages. IT professionals will be incentivized to ensure that end users are trained on their new technology and more pressure to get the best solution for their money. Training end users means a small output in extra money for hopefully a much higher output in work and efficiency. It also will give insights for business owners as to how beneficial IT projects can be. If the decision maker skimps on certain projects and then passes some other, there should be a clear result if the project really is worth the money.

In a way TBM acts as a system of checks and balances. The IT side should ensure that they get use out of the product, and guarantee that each purchase is useful and adopted by its intended users. On the business side, the question of “do we need to spend X on Y?” is easily answered by recorded data assuring them that: “Yes. You do need Y for these reasons….”

Can Washington’s TBM program be something every organization can do? No – however it may be a good conversation starter between IT and the rest of the business to enable transparency between the two. After all, IT is a growing part of every business and its important to create communication where everyone understands and benefits.