By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)
Let’s face it, IT departments have been notorious over the years for squashing the dreams and aspirations of folks in the rest of the organization. So much so that many operations people think they hear the response “No” from IT almost as much as they hear it from the legal department. If you’re a techie or an IT manager, and you’re thinking “No, you’re wrong!” well, there you go again.
The BYOD Phenomenon
Consider it from the perspective of other people in the organization. Why do you think the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) issue is so huge today? Simply put, people have tools and applications that work and that they are comfortable with already available on personal laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.
Now I am not necessarily advocating for or against a BYOD policy. I’m just using it to demonstrate the fact that if IT were delivering all the technologies, tools, and services in a format that worked well for the business, people would not feel the need to bring their own technologies to work to get things accomplished.
Should IT Always Say Yes?
No. I’m reasonable… relatively. I know that people will make the strangest, most absurd requests. I would never recommend trying to fulfill those just to improve the perception of the IT department. It would be a huge waste of time and resources. What’s clearly lacking in most organizations is a clear strategy. For IT, it’s difficult to develop a plan if you don’t understand the role of the IT organization within the company as a whole. Setting a clear direction that everyone, in IT and across the company, can fully understand has to come first.
Building the IT Brand
Now IT can go about developing their brand message and communicating it across the company. This includes communicating it to the IT resources. In fact, the focus on this brand, or the value IT provides the business, should be ingrained as part of the IT culture, new hire training, team member development, performance management, and all similar areas. With this approach, you go beyond simply talking about a theoretical value and begin demonstrating your commitment to it by practicing what you preach and holding everyone in IT accountable for ensuring it gets fulfilled.
Over time, the rest of the organization will buy in to this model. IT may not be able to say “yes” to every pipe dream, but people will know that reasonable requests will be fairly evaluated by IT. This is especially true if IT responds to the requests by firmly stating what can be done, in what time frame, with what number of resources, at what cost, and at what level of involvement from the business unit.
The concept is fairly simple, but fostering this kind of change in a legacy IT environment is no small feat. But you must start somewhere. By putting the right talent with the proper mindset and effective leadership in place, you’ll make a great start.
Personal Brand Impact
Of course, for IT pros, you can use similar concepts to develop or enhance your personal brand statement. Think about it. If most organizations don’t do this well, it provides you with the opportunity to differentiate yourself by developing such a culture within your IT department or specialty area. When hiring managers read about it on your resume or in your online profile, they will understand how difficult this culture is to achieve and will be impressed with what you’ve accomplished.
The ITtechExec Way
To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).