Saturday, 24 March 2012


If you do the Twitter thing, follow TonySmith at @hotpixUK

I was pondering the other day, why IT teams are not more ‘plumbed in’ to management at large, particularly in the housing sector. In the space of just three weeks I have heard of three organisations where surveys of the profiling or other nature, were initiated, with no thought how the collected information may be stored.

In all three cases, the IT team were informed near the end of the process, when completed forms etc were coming in. The missing link in all cases was a lack of a rent account, tenant or contact number to tie the answers to. Now, if each of those were worth £50 to me, I would have £150 by now. Not enough to retire on, but it might have come in handy at Cheltenham last week!

Why is that the case, why does IT not often figure on senior management teams and boards?

Quite often it is because senior management is so remote from IT, the applications that actually run the business are operated and understood only by staff many layers down. It’s easy to have a slightly cynical view that things can be chucked over to IT when needed and those multi-functional staff will sort it.

It’s often the reverse of that where either
a)    A catastrophic IT project has been suffered
b)    A charismatic IT manager/director is in place
c)    One or more senior management, directors or board members pursue and understand an IT centric approach

The benefits are a no brainer. Connected, joined up thinking enables IT to be aware of (& to anticipate) what is being planned by the organisation, also for IT to flag up limitations. Most IT teams are limited by the applications in use and practical integration between them. Honesty is really the best policy. In my experience it saves much disappointment later and everyone sleeps better at night.

To move closer to a better relationship between IT and Senior management, a sales type approach often helps. Sell what IT brings to the organisation and how crucial it is. Aim to under promise and over deliver. Believe me, they will be eating from your hand. If not, the organisation will need to keep paying that excessive overtime bill, to fit all those things in at the last minute.

20 years ago, The Stereo MCs had cracked this.

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting

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