“I’m tired of my department being the business unit’s scape goat. Whenever a business manager needs an excuse for not meeting an expectation, I’m the one who gets the fingers pointed at”.

This is a comment that I have often heard from IT managers across different industries. It seems IT is a popular deposit for blame and I would dare to say is one of the main sources of stress for professionals in our area.

To them I always say this: For IT to have success in a company, it is imperative to be able to tie business outcomes directly to IT performance. If the organization is currently pointing a finger at you: congratulations! You are relevant to your organization.

It may not be under the best of lights but hey, it’s a start.

I always argue that IT worst enemy is irrelevance and lack of support from an organization. When “The business” cannot see a direct correlation between IT success and business success, it is rather difficult to instigate change.

Our main goal as service managers is to align IT services to business needs. So if the business feels IT is not performing up to par, it is a perfect situation to acknowledge their needs and develop a plan to help them reach their goals.

A common scenario is the sales team claiming that they cannot meet their quota due to availability of a particular service (usually an application). Maybe an SLA is not in place for that particular area or the SLA is not being acknowledged by the business. This is an excellent queue to come up with a SIP (Service Improvement Plan) and redefine that SLA.

Normally IT is doing the best it can with the resources it has, however, changing needs are a good starting point to request more resources. In case obtaining more resources is not possible due to a precarious financial situation, it is highly important that the business is aware that under the current conditions the desired SLA might not be possible.

You can come up with actions that do not necessarily require a financial investment but process optimization or implementing open source tools. The point is to have the business know that IT cares about what’s happening with the organization and is willing to act quickly upon customer feedback. Even if that feedback was not provided with the best intentions.

The keyword here is communication. Even if the intentions of other areas are less than positive, IT must take a stance that shows the business that the team is not afraid of feedback and is willing to redesign to whatever the business needs.

Once this goal is achieved, the next step is proactively offer new services to the company that improve their performance which will turn IT in the desired “strategic partner” position that everyone should be striving to reach.

 
Do you turn finger pointing into an opportunity?

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Author: Airan Romero (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image: © Phovoir – photodune.net
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