“IT sometimes forgets that we are a car company, not a tech company.”
I’m not quite sure how many people have heard a similar statement from clients (replace car with any product). Never before had I heard a statement that so neatly wraps up the issues and frustrations that I believe many people have with IT.
What’s the core of the issue? IT is seen as a blocker and difficulty rather than an enabler. Why can’t things be simpler, or easier? Why does it take so long to do what I do now in excel with a few clicks? These are all valid questions. The easy answer? You don’t understand what we are accomplishing here and the implications of what you’re asking, delivered in an appropriate tone.
At the end of the day results are what matter. There isn’t a 100% clear solution to the issue of IT organizations and departments consistently not meeting expectations, but in order to keep clients and customers happy there is one clear action that can be done. Communicate with the client and don’t surprise them with bad news. There are countless articles on how to solve this communication divide and deliver bad news, but at the center of any project or product people delivering intangible software products need to shift the conversation from “can’t be done” to discussion of what can. At the end of the day, explaining how something can’t be delivered is not a conversation that will create a situation where any part wins. What will, is establishing realistic and deliverable goals that will assist in solving the pains of the client.
IT may not be the business of a company, but IT should be the ones opening up new paths for a company to walk down. Not obfuscating the path to a smarter and more efficient business.