“You can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow”.
When it comes to IT in Organizations something must shift, if not, it will be like the quote. In my opinion the main source lies with learning, or better said, the lack of learning. There is no organizational conversation on learning as an ongoing process. Best efforts get stuck at the level of “training as needed” and way too often even that gets stuck on the “no time” and/or “no budget” argument.
I pointed out in several other blogposts that the state of current IT is the biggest stop for leveraging modern technologies in organizations. And by that we create so called “shadow IT”, employees will find their own way of trying to do their job, with or without Company IT: Gmail, drop box, WhatsApp, Facebook, flash drives, byod. And, we can do nothing about it on the short term. But we know, lessons learned (?), what the source is. IT is not up to it. IT has barely the knowledge to keep yesterday’s systems running (as we were not learning 5 years ago either) so embracing new technologies while juggling with 7 old balls already? Right, I don’t think so. By the way, when I say “IT”, I do not specifically mean IT Department or IT People, I mean all people and processes that work with and through computers. Managers using a pocket calculator while working in Excel? C’mon!
What will happen if we do nothing? Well, the probable almost certain future is that is stays like this. We came up to here and now like this, it will probably get us through the next 5 years as well (hopefully). So organizations will just keep throwing away money because, hey, hardware and software must be paid. And we’ll just keep on not using what we paid for. Now that’s fine economics, isn’t it? And the only reason that that might work out is that the competition is in exactly the same position. Having the tools while nobody knows how to use them because nobody told them.
Or, we can transform the conversations on the place of IT within the organization. The relevance of IT and how to finally get to the point where IT is a business enabler (Gartner). A good starting point for shifting that conversation is asking the question “What happens with our business when we unplug everything for 72 hours”? Suddenly everybody realizes the relevance of IT for the organization. Now the time has come to take that on seriously.
We’ll have to start creating learning plans. Long term learning plans in a way that ongoing learning will be the standard conversation. Long term learning plans, 3 to 5 years, get less specific as they sit further into the future, we do not know what the future beholds. But by making them nevertheless, time and budget can be allocated and more important, it’s all about transforming that conversation throughout the organization, all layers and all departments deeply involved.
Imagine what would be possible then. On collaboration, communication, productivity, total cost of ownership, return on investment, security, personal development, employee loyalty, customer service and efficiency. The list is endless. Put it in like specific measurable results and you’ll be sorry you did not think of this 10 years ago.