The marriage between IT and business is incomplete since neither parties know each other well enough, according to Across Technology CEO, Peter Hinssen.
Businesses now demand IT to be better, faster, more robust and flexible rather than just a select few of those features. Above all, it needs to be cheap.
The problem is businesses and IT have a distant relationship, according to Hinssen.
“We are very embraced, but we don’t actually know each other well enough and that was okay for a long time,” he said. “Going into an era where technology stops being technology and digital becomes normal, I think we have to fundamentally change our ways.”
Cloud computing has rejuvenated opportunities for IT within organisations but IT professionals have to be flexible and communicate effectively with business decision makers, Hinssen said.
“The business still wants IT to be very simple, invisible, foolproof and cheap,” he said.
While it was fine in the old days to simply deal with the technology itself to take care of a company’s IT environment, this would not do in the days of the “new normal”.
“What we have to do in the new normal is we have to think about what does IT mean for the business,” Hinssen said. “We shouldn’t just focus on the components than just, say, the server is at 99.99 per cent uptime; the business doesn’t care.
“The business really cares about what does this do for our intelligence, for our customers, for our processes. We need a much more holistic way to give a commitment to the business.”
In Hinssen’s mind, in an age where outsourcing IT to India is an attractive proposition to many companies, what IT workers have to do is focus on creating value for businesses using IT as well as to reinvent themselves.
“If we can turn a cost discussion into a value dialogue with the business, we have truly arrived and made a real impact and a change in our IT profession,” he said. “I know a lot of chief executives who say ‘I don’t understand my IT people. I don’t understand people from Bangalore either, but they’re cheaper and further away’.
There should be more hybrids, people with business and IT skills, in the industry.
“If we want to fit in with the rest of the organisation, if we finally want to become on with the rest of the business, we’re going to have to do something about it,” Hinssen said. “We need to transform ourselves from being digitial to actually people who are clever with digital.
“We have to shift from being technology implementers to technology enabled innovators and that will require a great deal of effort but I believe we can make this happen and turn this into a renaissance.”