BizDevOps can help IT build strong ties with the business by creating a collaborative culture which ensures IT delivers value. Yet it also offers a major opportunity for IT professionals who want to take a leading role – not just in IT, but the entire business.
Business success is increasingly defined by technology. The quality of customer experience, the level of innovation and efficiency of operations are all defined largely by IT. For this reason, IT is being asked to become more strategically aware, develop relationships with other business units and generally become more of a team player.
The growing importance of IT and the ensuing attempts to bridge the gap between the c-suite and technology teams have created a massive opportunity. Any IT professional – whether currently employed as a network engineer, team leader or even service desk analyst – savvy enough to recognise the changes taking place can take a leading role.
What the business requires is individuals with technical knowledge who can speak in a language the business understands. They can’t be elitist about technology and they can’t use jargon. They must instead talk about business. They learn the challenges faced by the business, translate this need into a technological solution, and communicate it back to the business.
There’s no point pretending this is a role anyone can take. Some people excel at technology and struggle with communication. These people can be trained and guided to improve, but they are not the people who will lead IT-business convergence. It’s exactly like the Luddite who can be taught the basics of technology – they may reach a level of competence but when asked to do more, will quickly reveal themselves a mismatch.
But while the role of IT business leader is not for anyone, those who do demonstrate an aptitude for communication may find that BizDevOps can help them solidify their position.
What is BizDevOps?
BizDevOps aims to forge collaboration between those building technology (Development) and those using it and running it (Operations). It does this by creating a feedback loop which consults everyone – strategists, business leaders, technology practitioners and IT developers. In doing this, BizDevOps aims to speed up the deployment of technology that will help the business fulfil its strategic aims. (You can learn more about BizDevOps here).
IT and the business remain frustratingly adrift. An IT professional who utilises tools such as BizDevOps to close the gap will become an invaluable business asset.
Becoming an IT Leader
Being a team manager or head of a technology function doesn’t automatically qualify you as an ‘IT leader’. While someone in an IT leadership role is perfectly capable of becoming an IT Leader, some of the most cutting-edge work happens at grass roots level. For example, if you’ve ever written some code for an individual or department so they can work faster, you’re an IT Leader. Similarly, if you’ve spoken to a unit leader about a particular challenge they’re having and sourced an appropriate technology solution, you’re an IT Leader. In other words, anyone taking a hands-on, proactive approach to IT by suggesting and facilitating technology to improve business effectiveness, is an IT Leader.
This informal approach isn’t classic BizDevOps. But this is exactly what BizDevOps is trying to accomplish. It is possible to run a large scale BizDevOps programme which just pays lip-service to continuous service improvement but offers nothing. Whereas one person acting altruistically to improve the business through technology has captured the essence of BizDevOps and is therefore in our definition, an IT Leader. When this person combines this with the more formal BizDevOps approach and uses it to infuse others within the organisation with their spirit, then IT can become a mightily powerful force.
Becoming an IT Business Leader
Effective IT requires two things. Firstly, technical aptitude. IT will always need clever, methodical and dedicated people to build and support. Secondly, it requires business application. It has to deliver something useful. Doing this isn’t always easy. For too long, IT has relied on the “build it and they will come” principle. In other words: “Hi business, we think you’ll find this useful, let us know if it breaks”.
IT is now far too important to work in this cavalier way. IT needs a quantifiable business justification. The only people who can establish this must understand the business context of the technology as implicitly as they understand the technology itself. Those lucky enough to possess this dual capability will become incredibly valuable to businesses increasingly reliant on technology. IT is already one of the most important factors defining the quality of a business, and as this position is increasingly acknowledged, IT Business Leaders will find themselves greatly valued.
To become an IT Business Leaders, you must first become an IT Leader. Use tools such as BizDevOps and Business Relationship Management to start bridging the gap between IT and the business. Try at every opportunity to learn the problems faced by the business and find technology to solve it. Become an IT Leader and you will find that as IT takes a leading role in business, you will too.
If you would like to find out more about BizDevOps, download our Beginners Guide here.