How To Minimize the Gap Between Business and Technology
Most organizations are on a digital transformation journey in the current business climate. A common challenge for many organizations is bridging the gap between the business and technology sides. Effectively bridging this gap paves the way for cascading improvements throughout the business, including leveraging digital advances for innovation and eliminating bottlenecks to growth. As pressure grows for individuals throughout all levels of the company to think in more digital-centric terms, the CTO is often looked to as the key member of the team designated to lead the way to construct a bridge between the business and technology components of a company.
For many years, the IT department was considered the “order takers” within the business. Viewed as an entity all its own within an organization, the IT department often stood independent of the other departments and was considered a costly necessity to conduct business. Today, however, technology sits at the heart of most companies as a critical enabler of revenue and efficiency. Virtually every action employees perform throughout the workday is tied to some technology implementation in most companies worldwide. Today’s tech world is moving faster than ever before, with the potential of leaving companies that aren’t adept at bridging the gap between tech and business in the dust.
The ability to digitally enable business processes and provide customer-facing services is vital to delivering on technology’s full potential within businesses of all sizes. Through effective communication, collaboration, strategic alliances, and an overall understanding of the challenges, companies can begin to bridge this gap between tech and business effectively.
Importance of Aligning the Worlds
The key to success in a continually changing business environment fueled by technology innovation is to remain agile in every way possible. Having the agility to leverage technology innovation quickly is essential to a business’s success. Those companies that effectively bridge the gap between business and technology can realize serious competitive advantages by implementing significant technological advancements, such as the adoption of AI, big data, and IoT. Eliminating barriers between departments and teams is essential to maximizing these technology advancements for a company.
With a mutual goal, everyone wants to reach new levels of success and see exponential growth for the company. Working to close up a gap that is only hindering the progress of a business is a sharp move to make.
The first step to resolving this issue is to address the present challenges. It is essential to recognize the disconnect between business and technology. Corporate strategy, long-term goals, resource planning, and collaboration must always be aligned. The rate of technological change can make this seem like a never-ending race to the finish line, but in reality, there is no finish line. Technology is an industry of ever-changing advancements that will always require continuous learning to stay ahead in the race.
Lack of communication is a silent yet deadly killer between business and IT leaders. Communication issues are often caused by a language barrier between the two parties, which causes confusion and frustration. Entire dictionaries dedicated specifically to business terminology and technology acronyms and jargon prove this to be true. Here are a few necessary yet efficient steps to help conquer this language barrier and enable more open and meaningful conversation.
Avoid jargon: Jargon in any industry can be confusing and frustrating when trying to communicate goals and ideas to another sector.
Find common ground: An understanding between business and IT leaders is necessary. Business leaders may have unrealistic expectations for an application due to their unfamiliarity with the technical process. In this case, IT leaders must be capable of communicating their solution clearly in terms the business will understand.
Ask questions: If any confusion or frustration arises, always ask for clarification. Asking questions is how you learn, and more often than not, both parties learn from the dialog.
Technology projects often stall due to a disconnect between C-level executives and IT decision-makers. Even with a mutual goal of overall project success, the desired outcomes will not likely be achieved if formal collaboration processes are not implemented. The CIO or CTO should routinely be engaged in the business strategy and development process to identify IT requirements and make recommendations about how technology can be leveraged to achieve strategic goals. Likewise, business leaders should be engaged in the IT planning process. To expect IT to be well versed in business and business to be well versed in IT is not the end goal. The end goal is for IT and business leaders to better understand the requirements and processes required for an achievable solution to be developed.
Much of the disconnect occurs when it comes to communication and collaboration between IT and business leaders because the business areas speak different languages. When these leaders struggle to communicate effectively, an outside IT consultant may be needed to help bridge the gap. Consultants can leverage their experience and expertise to open the lines of communication. The consultant can assist the business leader in determining reasonable, achievable strategic IT goals and requirements that can then be presented to the IT leadership. Business leaders may have unrealistic expectations for an IT solution because they are unfamiliar with specific technologies, the organization’s IT infrastructure, or the development process. With the help of an IT consultant, business leaders can develop more accurate expectations and learn how to work with IT to implement their ideas successfully.
The Next Steps
Environments are changing rapidly, and success is closely related to business agility. The effort to bridge the gap between business and technology is essential for the success and growth of your enterprise. Make sure all departments are well-informed and aligned with strategic goals.
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