Change Your Vocabulary and Change Your Focus Mon 24 Sep 07
I often hear IT folks talk of projects such as converting plants on to one system, or reorganizing all of IT into one centrally controlled IT group. When you ask them why they are advocating these things the answer is often - efficiency. Wouldn't things be better if everyone was on the same system or if we were all in the same group? I guess it a characteristic trait of people in technological fields, we want to make things better.
While I certainly appreciate the benefits of being more efficient I can help but want to ask two questions. First, more efficient for whom? Hopefully it is the business operations that we've made more efficient and not just the IT operations? And secondly, for whom does this make things better? Again, hopefully it is the business that is reaping most of the benefits of this improved efficiency.
Too often however the answer is to both questions is IT. We puff up our chests and proudly exclaim about the great job we've done in reducing our costs and improving our operations. If we look closely though we just might see that those outside of IT don't share our enthusiasm. We tend to be too internally focused on ourselves and on efficiency / cost reduction. The good news is that's what we're good at doing. The bad news is while it is nice that really isn't what the business see as our most important role. This internal/efficiency focus helps explain how it is that while the CEO may feel information technology is important to success of the company, the information technology department isn't. We've made ourselves into a utility and left the business to fend for it self on the strategic use of information technology.
I'd like to suggest that we change our focus and let's start by changing our vocabulary.