Business Technology: Love Hate Relationship. Business needs technology and technology needs business. Yet, many business decisions are made with a level of distrust for the recommendations of the people representing technology. These decisions often cost the business heavily in terms of maintenance costs, reduced return on investment, lower customer satisfaction, and lower market share, etc., but for some reason the same mistakes are made over and over. What is the real problem? Read on…
Some might rush to the conclusion that the recommendations put forth by technology didn’t really take into consideration everything that was or will be going on with the business. Most likely, this would be an accurate statement. It is the business people after all, that are in charge of knowing these things. As a result, they spend a great amount of their time staying on top of them. It isn’t common practice for the business to share the details of how the business is doing business. The best companies though, tend to hold quarterly or annual meetings to give the masses a glimpse into what is going on.
Some, mostly on the technology side, might rush to the conclusion that the business’ decisions are made without really understanding and taking into consideration everything that is or will be going on with technology. Most likely, that would be a true statement as well. It is the technology people after all, that are in charge of knowing these things. As a result, they spend a great amount of their time staying on top of them. It isn’t common practice for technology to be given a seat at the business table. I mean, sure, you’ve got your CTO and/or CIO sitting there, but are they really representing the technology side? Or, are they representing a business side in the name of technology? Nobody really knows and I’m sure it’s different everywhere you go. But, one thing is common, and that is that the people that understand technology trends and the cost of the failure to adopt them, are on the technology side.The technology side of the business don’t hold quarterly or annual meetings. They only give the business a glimpse into their world with the business asks for it. For the most part it is left to the individual business folks to stay abreast of technology. The CTO or CIO for instance are not spending the majority of their time looking at emerging technologies. They may spend some of their time looking at each of the many aspects of technology that may help or disrupt them. But, typically they rely on their middle management to sound an alarm when some technology change is going to cause a disruption. But, this can be too little and too late to save the business from having to spend time and money pivoting.
By now you might be thinking you have the answer and reading the rest of this post is only going to confirm your notion. You may be right, so I won’t delay for much longer. But, before I point out the problem, I want to talk about the ideal solution. What would a relationship between the business side and the technology side look like? Should the business have the final say in decisions regarding technology? Should technology have any say in business decisions? Should the relationship be one involving a committee of representatives from different business units?
The ideal relationship between areas of any business involves cooperation, understanding, teamwork, and the pursuit of a common goal. Right? The relationship between business and technology must be the same. It must involve a distinct understanding of the other’s needs and concerns. It must take into consideration the ideas on both sides of the problem and find the common solution.
Why doesn’t this critical communication happen? Is it because technologist don’t speak business? That’s probably some of it. Is it that business only speaks buzzwords, and rarely understands the details? That’s probably some of it. The real answer is that they just don’t take the time.
As an example, 3 months ago I spoke to a lady about moving her highly valued photos and files to a cloud drive. She quickly said, “No” explaining she didn’t know anything about it and didn’t want to take the time to learn. Her dog pulled her laptop off her desk yesterday and I spent 5 hours explaining the benefits of using a cloud drive to her. She took the time to listen and ask questions. She made a good decision to use the cloud drive only for backing up to, but not for everyday use because she often wants to work disconnected. That’s a great decision for her. The same is true in business… Take the time to understand and better decisions are made.
Her files were not lost. Although, she thought they were for a short period.