I just completed the 3rd annual IT audit for some distributor. In term of the capability to keep the daily operation smooth, their IT manager got it quite right. However, whenever I talk to the people there, I usually got these complains
How come our IT system always got issues here and there ?
The IT system as well as IT team seems very complex and blurry to us...
Can we do this... or that ?
That's what really bugging me - how to make the people there realize the value of their IT team.
It's quite easy to be an IT staff in an IT company because people would understand what your work is and have a sense 'bout how well (or how bad) you're performing. However, for those who work in a non-IT company, it's not just 'bout performing well but also 'bout how to tell people 'bout it. And you also need to constantly make yourself more relevant.
Some thoughts on how to address the above questions
Q: How come our IT system always got issues here and there ?
Of course, the IT team needs to fix the issues. But they also need to prioritize it based on the business impact, then urgency. Some issues seems "urgent" but in fact not, and vice versa.
Also, focus not only on fixing the issue but also on fixing the root-cause to prevent them from happening all over again
Update it so that people know why it happened, who caused it and how IT team will prevent it from happening again and what you need others to support you. It usually just needs IT to fix the issues, but need other functions as well to fix the root-cause.
Q: The IT system as well as IT team seems very complex and blurry to us...
- Again, share the status (what you are working on, and esp. what projects you delivered and their benefits) while using the layman term so that non-technical people can easily get the ideas
Q: Can we do this... or that ?
Talk to your customers, explore the opportunities and execute it.
Deliver the solution, not just the system
An Excel that shows some number is just a system. But to train the end-users on how to use it, to give them sample reports and tell them how useful they are for the business, then keep checking whether they really leverage the system so that you can jump in and help --> it's the whole solution
- Simple solution (e.g. just an Excel report) still can benefit to the business if we deploy it to the right place, and vice versa. So, think 'bout how to solve problem, not how to deliver some sophisticated and complex solution