The Red Queen said: "Now, here, it takes all
the running you can do to keep in the same
place. If you want to get somewhere else, you
must run at least twice as fast as that."
From my many years in Information Technology, this wisdom rings true to me as much as any advice, mentoring, or guidance I have come across. In the world of IT there is a constant demand for the services and leadership to assist in driving the business in a successful direction. As IT has transformed over the years it has become a Service Agency. A Service Agency needs the style of leadership that recognizes it is providing a service that can be provided by many others. In a simple statement, just like your personal life in which you use many services for yourself, your family, your home, etc, if you are unhappy with the level of service you are receiving you change service provides. The challenge for IT Leaders is to continue to prove your team’s value to the company so the company recognizes, respects, and rewards your team as a key component in the operations and direction of the company and are not seen only as a necessary expense of the business.
The good part about running twice as fast is you don’t have to run alone. With the proper technology and tools you can empower others to run very fast which makes you look to be running even faster. How do you accomplish this?
The best path is with 3 key elements of an effective IT environment, People, Processes, and Systems.
It the past, IT could be seen as a bottleneck to forward movement of the company. IT associates were the only ones who could develop the analytics, reporting, or processes using technology. In today’s environment the right system energizes the company through technology and allows non-IT people to develop their own analytics and reports and leverage the system to create processes to improve operating efficiencies and effectiveness. This positions the entire organization to run twice as fast and when an entire organization runs twice as fast everyone wins!
IT isn’t a bottleneck for data needs. IT becomes an enabler to satisfy the hunger for data
One System I have found by which everyone can run twice as fast is Oracle’s Cloud-based NetSuite. From an IT Leader’s standpoint, it has the inherent capabilities to allow non-IT people to attend to their specific needs for data research and analysis and quick report development to track and measure performance. IT isn’t a bottleneck for data needs. IT becomes an enabler to satisfy the hunger for data.
Also within NetSuite are the tools to create workflows and processes that enhance the business operations of the company. People can build on the native NetSuite functionality to serve the particular idiosyncrasies that arise in all companies. The flexibility of NetSuite allows IT Leaders to avoid changing the company’s operations to fit the technology. The IT Leaders can mold the technology to fit the business needs.
One element I find most attractive about NetSuite is it being a Cloud-based solution. NetSuite carries the responsibility for the Data Center operations and all inherent redundancy and back up requirements. This allows the IT Leadership to turn more of its attention to being part of the Leadership Team running the company and less time being a Data Center manager. Your time is spent being a key decision maker in the strategic direction and daily operations of the company.
In the end, a Great IT Leader demystifies the technology, and allows the company’s staff to exploit its capabilities. In doing so, he/she is a Visionary who is worthy of the title of a Strategic Value Adding Partner.