It’s a well-documented fact: men and women see things differently.
Indeed, the dissimilarities between the sexes have been the subject of countless self-help books over the years (perhaps most notably “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”) and remain key focus areas for the latest crop of psychologists and human behaviorists.
A quick Google search of “men + women + communication gap” yields tens of millions of results. Broaden the search to “men + women + communication” and the number increases another 30%.Yep, folks, we (still) have a communication gap!
Before you panic, no, The Backup Window hasn’t morphed into a relationship self-help site or I into “Dear Abby.” But relationship building—between men and women, business leader and IT leader, IT leader and IT administrators, and IT administrators and backup administrators—is as important to future business success as choosing the right technologies to deploy.
Yes, IT transformation is just as much about the people, process and priorities organizations set as it is the swapping out of old technologies for new ones. In fact, perhaps more than any time in history, business success is bounded by the strength of a company’s communication up, down, across, and within business and IT teams.
So, what do you do?
Identify the Gaps—Starting with Business and IT Leaders
No one ever said the road to “running IT like a business” (a.k.a., IT as a Service) would be without obstacles, and it hasn’t.In fact, according to a recent EMC- and VMware-commissioned survey conducted by IDG, while business and IT leaders agree running IT like a business is important, they don’t always see eye to eye on:
- Benefits of ITaaS to the organization: IT leaders see cost-savings as the primary benefit, whereas business leaders point to productivity, efficiency and agility gains.
- Progress in delivering ITaaS: Eighty-one percent of IT leaders surveyed reported significant or moderate progress, compared to 64% of business leaders. Further, Twenty-seven percent of the IT leaders surveyed in the study said their IT operations ran like businesses today but only 18% of their business peers agreed.
- Areas for improvement: According to the survey, IT leaders think IT is doing a better job of understanding and meeting business objectives than business leaders think they’re doing. Specifically, business leaders cite the need for IT improvement in:
- Understanding the services the business needs/wants
- Packaging IT services to meet these needs
- Communicating a plan for future services
Clearly, this isn’t a scenario where agreeing to disagree is an option, or at least a business-viable one. For IT to run optimally as a business, business and IT leaders need to be in lockstep, and this requires communication and trust.
I’ll end this post with one more graphic from the survey. This one looks at the “Roadblocks Faced by IT in Implementing ITaaS” (asked of IT leaders only) and the “Roadblocks to a More Effective IT/Business Partnership” (asked of business leaders only).
Except for agreeing that IT technical expertise is a problem area, the lists are very different. What do you think? Is this an accurate picture of your environment? How’s your communication? How big is the gap? Do your own assessment and tweet @biggarhb with your results!
(Note: Graphics leveraged in this post were from the “Big Picture Global Survey: Dual Perspectives of ITaaS.” Conducted by IDG on behalf of EMC and VMWare, June 2103.)