Process killed the innovation star
As IT professionals, we can sometimes, without realising it, limit our focus to a particular process or solution, rather than the desired outcome of our customer. This can be an easy trap to fall into, especially if you are working in an IT role that has some customer-facing element (which is the majority).
Especially prevalent in larger and/or more mature organisations, technology platforms and processes have often existed for a significant period of time and have evolved to a point that they are often viewed as ‘cookie cutters’… requiring no additional consideration.
There are certainly some processes or technologies that are tried and tested and change slowly. However, as a general rule, things in IT change… and rapidly. The process or solution that might have made complete logical sense 10 years ago has quite a high chance of being improved upon today, for a variety of reasons.
If a process has become unnecessarily bloated or complicated, simplify it. If it can be eliminated altogether, even better! If an alternative technology platform can bring obvious ROI to an organisation, investigate it and get it some airtime in front of your customer.
If there is some organisational blocker that makes doing this difficult, resist the temptation to put it in the ‘too hard’ basket and attempt to raise it via the appropriate channels so that it can be highlighted and at least considered. Taking action is one of the most effective methods to spark change.
Not only does this provide an opportunity to learn and further our abilities, but it highlights that we genuinely care about our customers and stakeholders.
From a purely selfish perspective, this can help to differentiate the value we bring as IT professionals when we are working within an increasingly competitive job market.
Organisations are increasingly looking for IT professionals to align IT initiatives to business goals and pain points — not to operate as ‘just another cost centre’.
As IT professionals, we should regularly self-check and question whether certain processes and/or technology solutions are delivering true value to our customers and stakeholders. If we don’t do this, we are limiting the quality of service we provide to our customers and potentially our own career development opportunities.
Sean Bates is a board member and Secretary of the ITPA and an IT industry specialist with a particular interest in cybersecurity and training.
Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA) is a not-for-profit organisation focused on continual professional development for its 18,700 members. To learn more about becoming an ITPA member, and the range of training opportunities, mentoring programs, events and online forums available, go to www.itpa.org.au.
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