Why is there a shortage of respect and collaboration in design sessions between business and IT personnel? We have all seen this: business folks who refer to their IT partners as “Dr. No” (true story), or IT analysts who show up as order-takers unable to participate in mutual dialogue.
We’ve spent a lot of time pondering this dilemma. The issue seems to have a lot to do with context and understanding. IT folks have a habit of explaining why certain things may be problematic, drive effort and duration, etc. without using words or examples that have meaning to business people. To make matters worse, their revelations tend to unfold over multiple design sessions, leading the business to ask, “why didn’t you tell us about these problems earlier?” Conversely, business folks think and explain goals in a solutions context that include some leaps of logic to drive the end point or outcome home. How can you make your IT folks more consultative with your business, while empowering your business with greater savvy of how to implement their ideas?
The one universal asset to this discussion is data. It is a key by-product of every business process event. It certainly is something that both business and IT people should have a common interest in understanding, especially where something interesting or unexplained is found. Where an IT analyst is armed with intelligence and insights about data produced from a legacy business process, they will be far more able to win business engagement in a consultative discussion that is beneficial for everyone:
Business stakeholder: “so we’re seeking an estimate on what it will take to manage our quote-to-bind process in a single platform, rather than across the web quote and policy management systems that exist today…”
IT analyst: “I’ve done some preliminary research. I noticed that not all quotes are completed in the web quote system. Here’s a list of the other quotes I found outside of that system. Are these important? Also, there were multiple quotes from different agents for the same bound policy. Here’s an example we can discuss. Have you discussed how these quotes will be credited to agent commissions?”
Empowering IT designers and analysts with “Information Intelligence” is a way to leverage data and analytics that are usually at your fingertips. The key is knowing how to employ data profiling and information assessments within design sessions in a manner that is insightful to the business. You will earn the added respect of your business stakeholders, especially as you can explain a) a finding, b) a cause, c) the meaning d) several options, and e) your recommendation.
Put your information to work – it will win you partners in the business and lead to more effective and predictable results.