Isolation Technology!

According to my completely unscientific survey of clients and colleagues, things are not getting any better.  Not in the average business, anyway.  Stress, market pressure, staffing, revenues, expenses, insurance – you name it. Very few have a positive outlook.  Everyone is focused on survival.  Focus on what needs to be done, and nothing else.

Unfortunately for many companies, the “nothing else” also includes Information Technology, and their own information technologists.  Why?  Why not engage the one team in your business that holds the key to your competitive advantage?  Good question.

Several reasons are emerging on the top of the list.  Yes, I’ve written before about the inexcusable c-level technology ignorance (“It’s the Technology, Stupid!” and “Why Can’t I Get e-mail When e-mail is Down?”), as well as about the technologists themselves (“IT’s Worst Enemies”), but corporate issues with technology are getting deeper, and more pervasive.

I believe that on one hand we have gotten so comfortable with technology that IT has become “white noise.”  We no longer hear it.  We no longer see IT, either.  And, because we know little about it, we are naturally comfortable in relegating IT to the back room.  Out of sight is out of mind.

At the same time, technologists themselves have reacted to the current business environment with isolationism! From “They couldn’t tell a server from a router…” all the way to “They just don’t get what it takes to keep all this running!”  And, of course, there is the ever shifting technology landscape (pick the trend du jour: e.g. Cloud-everything), and career panic sets in.  The tech team  may try to distance the business from any IT change that is perceived as job threatening.  Forget what’s right.  What’s right is to stay employed!

How do we break out of this cycle? Admittedly, it’s a tall order. When you’re threatened, it’s very difficult to be open, inclusive, and engaging, especially with complex, “foreign” topics like technology.  And especially difficult in the sub-second transactional world we live in.  Not core business?  Move on.  For both parties.

In our practice, we have found one thing that does work. We ask the question: “Why leave money on the table?

It shakes people up.  Next thing you know, everyone pauses and inevitably asks “Why… what do you mean?”

On the business side, ignoring the “white noise” of technology means you’re missing opportunities.  New applications, new workflows, new connections, new thinking – all enabled by technology – everyday something new.

On the IT side, retreating into the tech-cave means missing an opportunity to advance, to show that your true value to the organization is not about blinking green lights, but about the ways of making life easier, innovating, more profitable, more secure.

Another important note: Companies that really profit when the business environment rebounds are the ones that have taken downturn downtime to prepare, think and innovate.  The ones that have kept their wit, stayed open, inclusive, and receptive.

Give up complaining, cuticle-biting and hiding!  There’s only thing business and tech people need to do:

Talk to one another!  (Crazy, I know!)

Our recommendation:  Lunch!  Once a month.

Pick a day – the first Monday of each month sounds good – and order lunch, sit down, and just talk.  Vent.  Like you are with your friends commiserating.  Because, you are!  You’re in the trenches fighting the same battles.  Time you started knowing each other – no?

You’ll be amazed how quickly isolation changes to support and support changes to profit.



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