Everyone hates filling in expense forms. But for years, businesses have been fooled into thinking that this system is making life easy for everyone. It’s not—it’s only making it easier for those who deal with the expenses. This is a prime example of what’s wrong with the way IT enables business processes in many organisations.
IT has traditionally asked the accounts team what they need, or questioned the leadership team about the best system to procure. Yet in doing this, IT is focusing on the wrong customer. They shouldn’t only be looking at it from a departmental perspective; they should focus on the people who will actually interact with the solution. After all, if end users aren’t excited about the technology or application, and they don’t find it intuitive, they won’t willingly integrate it into their busy working lives.
Alongside this, IT’s task has been made much harder with new technologies becoming mainstream and more technologies entering the business. A recent VMware study found that two thirds of business and IT leaders in EMEA believe that cloud computing has made it easier for lines of business to purchase their own IT, with almost half stating that non-IT functions were authorising their own tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
Departments are clearly taking control over their own IT needs, and this means the IT department is relinquishing control. In fact, 42 percent of business and IT leaders agree that the IT department has had no control over this decentralizing of IT. While many leaders understand that there are benefits to be realised from this trend, more than half say it’s currently making IT’s job more challenging, with key issues including the duplication of IT spend, a lack of clear ownership for IT, and the purchasing of non-secure solutions.
So how to tackle this? A change in approach and mindset is needed. Instead of studying maths, physics, and computer science, focus on understanding empathy, emotion, and motivation—the softer skills of human interaction. Then, when it comes to selecting and implementing technology solutions, business leaders will understand what users really want and how they’ll use it, as well as how it should be sold to the workforce—so employees do get excited about it and appreciate the various ways it can impact the business.
IT teams are at the coalface of the issue, but this people-centric approach is something the entire business must grapple with. These new technologies are a reality because of business-wide transformations to become more digital, where cloud computing has made these apps and services available and the consumerisation of IT has set the benchmark in how intuitive they should be.
This new environment necessitates an IT team equipped with the right technical and soft skills, but also employees with the desire, understanding, and capability to fully exploit the technology now at their fingertips. Working to understand the emotive drivers across the entire workforce will be crucial to this; it will better wed technology to individuals and refine IT’s potential impact on the business as a result.