Lunchtime conversations just got a little more interesting with the advent of the new Future IT series presented by Global Lynx. These events are designed to give IT and business professionals an opportunity to think ahead about the next steps for businesses striving to stay ahead of the curve. After all, the only constant in IT is change.
The first Future IT event focuses on service management. Panelist Dave Lauer talked with IT Martini about what the latest shift has been in IT and what the next big IT focus will be.
“[The most recent] big shift in IT has been the move to understand that it is another part of the business,” Lauer said. “Before it was seen like a call center - a necessary evil no one wanted to have to deal with. People on the business side didn’t understand it and they hired tech people who didn’t understand business. Now they [businesses and IT departments] have to understand how IT impacts the business. Now IT leaders are looking at the ROI and cost and mission of business when they make recommendations.”
With the shift comes an inevitable learning curve. When asked who was adapting better to the change in perspective and IT’s role in business, Lauer said both sides -- business leaders and IT professionals -- are making strides, but both sides have some way to go before this change becomes the norm. Lauer offered some free tips for IT pros who are still making or beginning to make this transition:
“Learn to speak the language of business/tech,” Lauer said. “If an IT pro understands that there is a new application, service, etc that will impact the business, you don’t talk about the [detailed] tech information. You talk about reduction in labor cost, value, etc., -- speak in terms that speak to the business side.”
Lauer also advised IT pros to put themselves in places and meetings where people are talking about business objectives.
“We do a quarterly meeting, sitting in and listening in on where the business is going,” he said. “It helps to understand what the business goals are and how the business side communicates them.”
Lauer said the next step is to ask for more information from people leading those meetings.
“I have found that reaching out to business leaders, they are happy to share their vision, so just listen and just ask,” he said. “IT people want to go into their dark corner, and solve the problem. You have to understand the problem, first. Sometimes we are too quick to try to use tech and to problem solve when we don’t know the full extent of the issue.
Finally, Lauer said IT pros should establish a measurement for success, prior to taking action, so that when you start and finish the effort you’ve know you’ve hit the mark.
Transitions Keep It Exciting
The transitional nature of IT is one thing that keeps Lauer excited about the industry. As a child he was always interested in art, wanted to be a cartoonist and loved Jim Davis, the creator of “Garfield.” He also loved math, science and physics because they helped him learn how to take things apart and learn how they work he said.
“Both, [the arts and sciences] require you to look at things that have issues or have no start at all and make something useful out of it,” Lauer said. “IT is the same way.”
“I was asked, for almost a year, to step into the CareConnect at EMR system implementation project for education and training. I just came back to service management and am taking a look at the big picture and coming up with ideas. It’s a great thing to be able to step away and now take a look, again, at the portfolio, look at areas that need tweaks, looking at demand management and business management... it feels fresh again.”
Lift Your Head Up
That outside perspective is essential to keeping up with the changes coming on the horizon, Lauer said. Events like Future IT are great opportunities to get that different perspective.
“There is a tendency [in IT] to put your head down and work,” he said, “but if you are interested in making sure you are going to end up where you want to be, you need fresh perspective from the end client and colleagues. Pull your head up and get outside perspective.”
“These events give you a chance to listen to colleagues and peers and hear things that resonate with you. Draw parallels from what people are talking about to what you're doing. Write down questions and take the initiative to come up after and ask them. Do you want to continue to build the wheel over and over again, or do you want to be successful by reaching out for new information?”