Blogs & Comment

Be kind to IT—they could sabotage your business

Just to brighten your day, here‘s an optimistic, hope-for-humanity kind of story from InfoWorld about bitter IT workers, and the damage they could inflict on your business. Nothing like a double-shot of paranoia on your coffee break.
According to the story, a lot of bitterness stems from their corporate overlords’ decision to offshore large swaths of their department, sending jobs overseas and increasing the pressure on individuals to pick up the slack. Obviously, that’s just wrong-headed. If you want your IT-dependent company to keep workingand really, all companies now depend on ITmake sure you’ve got enough mechanics on hand.
But do you have to employ the mechanics?
To me, these stories of disgruntled network administrators are another argument for more outsourcing. Companies need mid- and upper-tier employees who deeply understand technology in order to craft strategies about how it can be used to help the business and, at a high level, manage the basic infrastructure, but the low-level tech support folks ought to be employed by another firma service firm that appreciates their expertise, because it brings in business.
By formally separating business and IT into a contractual client-and-service provider, the lines are drawn more clearly as to what is expected on both sides. Moreover, because the IT service provider has skin in the gameit could lose the contract outright, or get suedthey have a greater onus to look after their employees and make sure they’re not so disgruntled that they would damage the client relationship.
Outsourcing is no panacea, but the stresses that are being placed on IT departments are more likely because the transition has been mismanaged, not because it’s been done at all. Changes in technology are forcing companies to re-examine what it means to manage IT, and the executives or managers in charge of outsourcing IT do need to understand these changes well enough to make the transitions work.
(Hat tip to Good Morning Silicon Valley, a favourite read of mine.)
A final thought: the Canadian Information Processing Society(CIPS) has been at the forefront of establishing professional accreditationthat is a step towards qualifying for a new International Information Technology Professional (IITP) designation to be launched world-wide in 2009 by the International Federation of Information Processing Society (IFIP). Setting professional standards and a correspondingly high level of conduct are good steps toward gaining respect by the business community.