I’ve been noticing a few things on Twitter lately regarding getting IT aligned with the business and the importance of understanding what the business side actually does to provide value. Usually my eyes just pass by this kind of knowledge with a minor thought in my head of “duh,” but it’s starting to bother me that we, as an ITSM community, need to keep reminding the rest of the IT world that IT needs to understand the business and get on board with providing value instead of sucking away precious budget dollars.
In a recent conversation with my friend and colleague Jake Dunmoyer (https://twitter.com/zenitsm), I had a chance to hear Jake’s view that in the (probably not so) distant future everyone will be a part of IT and the successful people will be those that are good at business. I tend to agree with his views and I look forward to the day when the phrase “IT Department” is only muttered when I tell my grandchildren stories of the “early days of technology.”
So, if the trend is towards IT and business merging, and the voices of ITSM have been constantly loud and proud about making sure IT understands the business and has the goal of providing value, why isn’t “IT” listening? Or to be more specific, why isn’t every CIO, VP, director, manager, supervisor, analyst, engineer, developer, etc., listening and starting their day with the agenda of providing value to their employer of choice. I don’t mean to sound like Lumbergh from the movie Office Space, but there is truth into the saying “is this good for the company?”
To offer my own thoughts for an answer on this rant, I’d like to point out that in ITSM we’re not just dealing with process, and we aren’t only dealing with technology (even though it’s the most fun), but we’re dealing with people. Now, I don’t have the greatest experience in dealing with people as I gave up my psychiatrist dream years ago, but my wife’s a behavioral therapist and from her daily rantings I can confidently tell you that changing a person is hard, let alone changing the mindset of a group of people. It’s true that we can use incentives (pay raises/money/gamification) to help drive change, and fear is another tactic (job firings/Death Star blowing up your planet), which isn’t as effective given how Star Wars went down, but it can still work. But the greatest way to make the change is the culture, since culture will influence the entire organization down to the individual employee. Considering changing culture takes a lot of time and energy in its own right, it’s yet another thing that’s going to take time to complete, especially if it’s at an organization that has been around for several years and makes only conservative changes.
So is there hope that people will be blinded by the light of IT + Business? Of course. As always, it will take time and constant prodding to convert the conservative population over to the realization that the IT landscape is changing, and I’m sure there will never be an end to the reminders to IT to get to know the business (I recommend taking the business out to dinner, maybe someplace romantic where you both can talk and get to know each other without any outside pressures). I do promise that when I see the obvious Tweets and posts about the need for alignment, I’ll try to ignore making snarky remarks of “duh” and “obviously” and will try to keep in mind that the constant reminders are needed to help push the culture in the right direction. Until the day of reckoning comes about, here’s a video that pretty much describes my feelings on the topic….