Procurement 8 September 2017

The business benefits to better understanding the work of your IT staff

Developing programming and coding technologies. Website design. Cyber space concept.
It’s important for smaller employers to treat IT staff in the same way asthey would marketing and sales departments
Writing for Business Advice, Rob Belgrave, founder and CEO of cloud technology consultancy?Wirehive, explains why taking the time to understand the role of tech and IT staff can help improve communication within a small business and drive its digital development.

No matter the size of their business, if there is one thing developers will agree on, it’s that there is just too much to do.

There are a multitude of reasons for this. As makers, developers have a habit of saying yes. They want to make more, they want to do things better, they want to help their business grow and become best in class.

This is a culture that is only growing as more and more businesses in every sector strive to become digital-first. Eager to prove themselves and up against fearsome competition, developers in start-ups and smaller businesses are under particular pressure to deliver results.

But the eagerness of developers isnt the only reason why they feel overwhelmed nor is it detrimental. The problem is a big knowledge gap when it comes to businesses seeking to innovate and implement new digital technology.

Today, as smart technology becomes intrinsically embedded in people’s day-to-day lives, there is a pressing need for businesses to embrace change. Naturally, in a competitive market the inclination for most is to want to be on the cutting-edge of digital innovation and for many, even the smallest companies, it is now possible.

There was a time when clever technologies were in the hands of an elite few, tuckered up in Silicon Valley; but in the past few years technology has become more accessible, creating a more even playing field for businesses.

Amidst this, it is up to developers to make change happen. But their employers and co-workers generally do not understand the complexities of the task at hand. While tech might be increasingly familiar in a consumer sense, people outside the industry just can’t get their head around how it works nor do they try.

Therefore, tech and it’staffare typically left to their own devices by the rest of the business. The seemingly incoherent nature of what they do leads to silos and lack of support. It also means the wrong people are given the wrong jobs. Expensive developers become fix-it people, rather than focusing on creativity.

Another impact of this discrepancy is that businesses struggle to know how to equip their tech and IT experts, whether with tools, resourcing, budget or time. This is made worse by the fact that today budgets have never had to be more accountable.

While larger, wealthier businesses are more likely to be able to take a gamble, for smaller businesses, every penny counts. There is also the issue of complexity management. In development, ideas have a habit of proliferating, with one new thing producing many more. The tech debt accumulates.

Breaking the cycle

One of the many exciting things about this technological revolution is that companies in every sector are diversifying their skillsets. A big bank, for instance, will need to hire entirely new departments to help it become future-proof for generations to come. Meanwhile, empowered by technology, small business owners have an unprecedented opportunity to compete with established and market-leading brands.

However, while technology is now a core part of the success or failure of any business, it’s often not the core skill-set of the people in charge. The good news is, that’s ok, as long as you try to understand the basics.


Business Advice