- IT teams still over-rely on subject matter expertise and, as a result, lack the business mindset required to properly align with the business.
- When transitioning to a service management model, take extra care to move the right people into product
“We need to be people who know how to apply technology to solve business problems.”
Justin Brown knows that unless IT teams have the right skills and capabilities to support the business, they are likely to stumble and fail. “There’s an overreliance on subject matter experts (SMEs) and not enough emphasis on change management or business-minded people,” he says. Whereas IT teams were once the SMEs on all things related to technology, “That model has completely changed. There’s too much being developed. There’s too much technology. It’s been a paradigm shift. Now, the business is bringing technology to us,” he says. This is a problem because, as Brown says, “IT lacks the people to clearly articulate business value, and we don’t hire for that as an industry very well.”
In this new paradigm, IT often struggles to ensure that incoming project requests align with business goals. “Someone in the business shows up and says, ‘Hey, I want to do this,’ and then that person brings you something to do it. But in a lot of cases, people don’t understand the tool they’re bringing you, and they haven’t really dug into the problem they’re trying to solve,” Brown says. “We need to be technologists rather than SMEs, if you will. We need to be people who know how to apply technology to solve business problems.” If IT teams fail to adapt to their new roles as business-focused problem solvers, they may end up managing a collection of point solutions with no clear architectural strategy.
Before long, they’ll find themselves overwhelmed with tech debt that holds the business back and prevents it from achieving its goals.