There is an ancient joke in the Information Technology industry along the lines of there being a huge gap between what business customers think they need by way of IT systems and what they actually really do need.
This paradoxically led to several decades where the IT industry tended to give business users what IT people thought would be in the best interests of their business rather than necessarily what the business specialists really required!.
That attitude showed a huge degree of complacency and arrogance on the part of some earlier generation IT specialists but it might be a little too extreme to simply argue that IT developers and support personnel should simply passively give end users whatever they ask for.
In reality, IT has to be delivered in a cost-effective framework. It has to be seen to offer competitive advantage to the business and to do so without transforming the business into effectively a de-facto IT operation.
So, there is a need to bridge the gap between business expertise and that of Information Technology specialists. This is where Business IT Support Services have a hugely important role to play.
People working in Business IT Support Services are often something of a hybrid individual. They may have very impressive Information Technology skills but also a background in certain areas of various business operations. The idea is that they are able to speak both the business and IT languages, meaning that pragmatic solutions to problems or opportunities are identified and implemented.
If you do not have people fulfilling this role in organisations or on their behalf through associated suppliers, there is a risk of serious problems arising between various conflicting imperatives such as:
• An organisation needing to constrain spending on IT to those areas where they are likely to get the biggest ‘bang for the buck’.
• The demands of their customers and the marketplace for new facilities (e.g. interfacing with their systems through smart devices)
• Commercial pressures arising from IT innovation within their competitors.
• Keeping their primary business focus on their business, as opposed to Information Technology.
• Reducing the ongoing cost of systems maintenance or at least constraining it to acceptable percentages of overall business margins (remembering that the more systems you have and the greater the degree of their complexity, the higher your annual cost of ownership will probably be unless you take steps to manage it down).
Business IT support services are typically able to discuss these and related issues in a business context. This can be invaluable for many business owners and leaders, who find it difficult to communicate in exclusively IT terms and quite understandably, see no reason why they should be asked to do so.
The skills required to work in a business IT support environment are many and varied. They tend to be associated with more mature people who have worked in both environments, as touched on above.
It’s certainly worth looking for external IT providers who have Business IT Support Services available within their establishment or if not, thinking about developing such multi-disciplinary individuals within your own IT departments.