I happened to overhear yet another conversation where some non-IT folks were discussing how they could get around IT. They were justifying their actions based on the lack of responsiveness of IT in general to their needs.
This is a common theme I have seen. Technology vigilanties bending the rules to get around the very team that supposed to help them solve technical problems.
Much of this attitude comes from the 7 deadly sins of IT.
Tech speak is not your first language
Nothing communicates implicit condescention more than using vocabulary and phrases that are are unknown to your audience. Technology is filled with words and acronyms that non tech professionals and employees don’t know or understand.
If you are fluent in tech speak and your immediate customer is not you can confuse them quickly and easily.
I have seen IT folks deliberately tech speak to the non-initiated for their own fun and sport.
The deadly sin here is that instead of being a problem solver and technical guide, the IT personnel who engage in this behavior lose influence with their customers. Their customer can’t understand them. What customers can’t understand they won’t value. Customers will find other ways around IT to get their problems resolved. Hello shadow IT.
Would you like IT attitude with that?
Most IT folks are pretty smart. After all they are dealing with computers and networks and software which can be pretty complex stuff. It can be a pretty heady vocation.
Being smart as evidenced by your sagacious problem solving and astute solutions is one thing. But having the attitue that you (as an IT worker) are smarter than everyone else because you are in IT is another deadly sin.
The thing is most employees bring their own type of ‘smart’ to their job. Just because they don’t know tech stuff per se doesn’t mean their smart is less valuable. It’s just different. A business requires different types of ‘smart’ in order to succeed and grow. IT smart is just one of them.
Ignoring the customer
Another deadly sin is creating solutions while all the time ignoring or not involving the customer.
Too many IT groups still operate under an “IT knows best” pattern. This leads to ignoring the customer in the pursuit of solutions that IT deems necessary.
The result is that the customers needs are not met, and they are forced to look elsewhere to get the solutions they need. More shadow IT.
Means and not the end
IT is a means to an end and not the end. Unless the revenue generating product is IT, then, of course, IT is the end.
In most companies IT is needed as a means to an end, such as to improve productivity, or speed production or aid compliance. IT is a utilility that helps the business get it’s job done, faster, cheaper and with higher quality. And it should be a responsive utility to get the best results.
Too many times entrenched IT interests believe themselves to be the end. This deadly sin results in empire protecting and dedicated adherence to the status quo. Both of which are suffocating to a business. This jurrassic mindset will go extinct just like the dinosaurs, hastened by a flood of easy to use, online, inexpensive and disruptive services.
It’s the paradigm stupid
IT camps can also fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy. Unchecked this deadly sin can yield the ‘we have to do it this way’ attitude.
Your business needs may call for new thinking or a different solution. But, because of previous investment in systems and personnel, you try to meet that need with what you have always done. Even if that’s not what will work.
When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, the old saying goes.
We have high standards
Standards are necessary. They reduce variation, expenses and help with more consistent results and experiences. We all need standards. We all get it.
The deadly sin comes in when IT uses standards like Wonder Woman used her bullet bracelets. Too many times IT teams do not respond to needs because they are outside of ‘standards’. In these environments standards are used to deflect requests, dodge opportunities and dampen ideas.
Standards end up being static snapshots in history. And in the wrong hands are used to stifle innovation and responsiveness.
The capability of technology we have today is really amazing. Modern software, mobile phones, the internet and all of its technology are unbelievable tokens of progress. Sometime just getting a technogy to work correctly is an amazing feat.
And IT has its share of amazing feats.
The deadly sin comes in when we don’t also consider security while doing amazing technogy.
We all see the news stories. There are lots of bad actors that take advantages of lax security and wreak havoc on businesses. Malware, ransom wear, data breaches, identity theft, internet disruptions are all the work of bad folks taking advantages of systems that have flaws uncorrected leaving the users of that technology exposed and vulnerable.
The seven deadly sins exist in many IT teams. If they remain unchecked they can damage business. Don’t let that happen to your business. What will you do about it?