19 December 2019
Minding Your Business: The In-Demand Skill for Today’s IT Professional
A glance at recruitment headlines could give the impression that IT is just about knowing your way around DevOps, AWS or Java, a purely technical role in the organisation. Sometimes, it is important to remind ourselves that IT isn’t just about technology. The skills and characteristics of today’s IT professional must extend far beyond the latest certifications.
Knowing the Business
When we work with a customer, we go to great lengths to understand every aspect of the business, so that we can make recommendations that align closely with forward plans. There is, though, nothing like being on-premise to catch the undocumented needs of the organisation, and in-house IT staff can gain much from paying attention to the chat at the water cooler and the pre-meeting discussions that aren’t on the minutes.
Beyond paying attention to the chat around the business, it also pays to have an enquiring mind. Is the problem with rising complaints or delayed orders something that can be addressed with a better process or a tweak to a system? Could service delays be addressed by a simple piece of automation? Look for a problem or inefficiency, then find the technical solution that can address it. Focusing on tackling small adjustments, one at a time, can often be the best way to make big advances.
Of course, that detective work takes time. When we published a blog about finding more time in the day, it struck a nerve for many customers. Everybody is busy. Taking control of your inbox, a few smart apps and faster internet are the answer for some, while for others it is getting ongoing help with managing the basics.
This efficiency can have a knock-on effect. Aside from giving you time to address some of those projects that have been pushed back, it also sets an example to your less technically savvy colleagues. Helping the CEO avoid email overload or guiding the customer service team through introducing efficiency apps that ease the pressure can make a profound difference to their workday.
As with many aspects of life, IT can be not merely about what you know but about who you know. Many a time have we worked with a customer who has wrestled with a technology conundrum for months, only to find when they mention it to us, we can give them a near-instant answer. Often the solution is adjusting a setting or integrating software they already have, or as simple as securing a better internet deal. Knowing everything IT isn’t possible, but contacts who specialise in a range of areas can be just as good.
The best IT professionals can see the possibilities in existing and emerging technologies – and that can take some creative thinking. We have seen this in the form of digital disruption of often traditional industry sectors. Organisations like Uber and Airbnb are prime examples. There is nothing to say that an established business can’t reinvent itself, though – and in fact, those that don’t may be risking becoming dinosaurs in a few years. According to Innosight, 75% of the S&P will be replaced by 2027. You can be sure that the survivors will be those making the biggest waves in the digital pond. When you can think beyond the way things have always been done, the future is bright.
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