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Avoid implementing new technology the old way

Here's the recipe for a truly effective IT department


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Two years ago, I watched from the front row as a local company threw away one of the biggest business opportunities any of us could hope for. I'll keep it confidential and call them Company X. Company X had the talent that most organizations can only dream of. They had funding. They had connections.

Their opportunity list alone indicated they could easily double in size in 18 months. Eight months later, they were on the brink of implosion. Overall business had shrunk by over half.  Their best talent had gotten frustrated and left. They laid off others. They traded their upward momentum for internal friction and time spent trying to understand what was happening.

Some in the organization chalked up these issues to timing, poor luck, ineffective leadership, and more. As time went on the root problem clearly appeared in a surprising place right between their executive leadership and their IT department. They didn't embrace the idea that technology isn't just a part of business, technology IS business

For years, technology has been the business of the IT department. The "IT guys" built, supported and doled out the keys to the technology kingdom…and they did it well. Technology was a complicated mess of servers, networks and acronyms understood only by a select few. This was the best way to operate in a business climate where technical savvy was highly concentrated in the server room. 

In 2016, technology is easier to setup, simpler to use, and solutions are everywhere. Users are more experienced and less patient. This requires a fundamental change in how technology support exists within a company. Being effective requires shifting from dictating to listening, from educating team members to learning what they are trying to accomplish. Technology includes far more than servers and networks. Web technology, analytics, mobile strategy and security have changed the landscape for good. A truly effective IT department is embedded deeply in every part of the business driving solutions, not systems.

Company X learned this the hard way. Among their talented team they had an IT staff that was looking to the future in terms of technology, but still thinking in the past in terms of how to make it happen. Their systems missed the mark. Their brilliant and impatient team did what brilliant, impatient people do.

They found their own solutions. They didn't tell anyone. Soon, Company X found some their most valuable data was in places they couldn't even access, much less manage. As they tried to regain control they were perceived as the barrier to success rather than the enablers of success. Talented team members found other organizations they felt would support their needs, not just get in the way. The dominoes started to fall. 

This year Company X has another shot. They get a do-over. A new approach to technology has helped them rebuild the momentum they lost. This doesn't happen often, but Company X is prepared. I'm excited to watch them find a different outcome.

(This sponsored content was provided by Greystone Technology.)

 

Greystone Technology President Peter Melby’s career began when he hopped the back fence at his parents’ house, walked to his first and only ever job interview and landed a support outsourcing job as a high school student. With a knack for earning trust and connecting with people, Peter spent a couple of years hearing all of the reasons people are at odds with their IT support situation. Peter’s mission at Greystone is to lead the rally against the traditional service structure in the name of providing deeper impact in any way possible.

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