IT Governance

IT Is Too Important to Leave to IT—Involve Your Business Partners

The love-hate relationship between IT departments and end users isn’t something new and uncommon anymore. As long as there are IT people who want integration work and users who challenge every single detail of an online app, there are misunderstandings and frustration between these two groups. However, the needs of both sides must be valued in a manner that supports the needs of the organization and its overall business strategy. Mark Smalley, in writing for, suggests a few steps that IT professionals can take to facilitate productive and cooperative work with end users:

  1. Understand that end users are human beings, not IT beings.
  2. Encourage business relationship management (BRM).
  3. Look at governance of information and technology from a business perspective.
  4. Take the “IT buddy” concept.
  5. Adopt effective business-IT behavior.
  6. Embrace “shadow IT.”

Get to Know Each Other

The IT department should listen to what end-users want on a personal level. Too often, IT people communicate with end users in a technological way rather than in a relational way. However, end users are human beings who need empathy and understanding more than IT expertise. When they are vulnerable and need help, they want somebody who can empower and provide support, not belittle and look down on them for their mistakes or incapability. You have to accept the fact that even up to this day, IT is still a difficult subject that many just cannot understand very well.

The idea of having an “IT buddy” can also be an interesting and effective principle to monitor how others in your organization are using the systems. Similar to a doctor’s clinics, an IT buddy can become a trusted advisor and a “voice” for your department. He/she can help your colleagues and assist with deeper knowledge about the business context. We have also read and been advised a lot about how important it is to have a business-IT aligned perspective in the workplace. The collaboration between hardcore business people and IT people, if successful, will facilitate communications, push for mature conversation and negotiation, and increase productivity of the business. For IT people, they should be able to speak the language of business people—that is, being able to talk benefits, costs, and risks.

All in all, IT professionals should explore and understand what end users and their colleagues need, including their preference for communications and device/apps. Smalley says this:

With attitudinal, behavioral, and cultural challenges. I’d recommend spending some time thinking about the end users’ experience when dealing with IT, building better relationships, and helping your business partners to become better dancing partners.

You can view the original article here:

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