Actual IT management: Promoting the transformative dream

We speak quite a bit about how IT leaders have to formulate the suitable methods and make sure the proper applied sciences snap into place. However to make an actual distinction, IT leaders should be change brokers.

Most of us know, for instance, that there’s inestimable worth within the patterns that emerge from analyzing mountains of enterprise and log information. Or that machine studying can cut back overhead and gasoline transformational purposes. Or that it’s previous time to standardize safety insurance policies throughout a number of clouds. However how do IT leaders get their organizations to make the leap?

They should learn to promote. It is a necessary ability for efficient IT management. 

What’s step one in gross sales? Prospecting. You must uncover the place the low-hanging alternatives are to reveal the worth of, say, a data-driven method to modernizing legacy processes. Organizations by which technologists are built-in into cross-functional workgroups have a bonus, as a result of these allies could be known as upon to determine fast wins.

Then that you must persuade a major stakeholder that it’s value a shot. This isn’t one and finished. You must collaborate with that stakeholder (or whomever they designate) each step of the way in which, from requirements-gathering to common check-ins to testing to coaching.

You additionally have to instrument your venture from the start to make sure you can acquire metrics to show success. If a profitable final result ensues, you and/or a proxy have to broadcast the outcomes. That is your inner advertising program. Get your first stakeholder to sing your initiative’s praises and others will beat a path to your door.

The flexibility to construct and maintain such relationships options prominently in “7 skills of successful digital leaders” by CIO contributor Esther Schein. It goes hand in hand with other soft skills, such as the ability to communicate goals clearly, to motivate others, and to “tell stories” using terminology business leaders understand. According to Schein, wrapped around those qualities is adaptability to change, a trait that has been put to the ultimate test over the past 18 months.

Directives about how work arrangements should realign as a result of our rolling pandemic are the province of CEOs, not CIOs. But once basic decisions have been made — will we downsize office space? what does hybrid work mean for us? — IT leadership needs to roll out a coherent plan for the associated collaboration, security, and automation solutions. As Computerworld staff writer Charlotte Trueman notes in “How to make the hybrid workplace a success,” many companies are looking at a “remote-first” future.

The challenges of remote work have jacked up stress levels for security professionals. But security pros who have a sense of purpose and are able to forge strong work relationships defy the stereotype of the beleaguered CISO, struggling in vain to defend against relentless attack. In “CISO job satisfaction: Finding meaning in the mission,” contributor Mary Pratt offers a prescriptive quote from MongoDB CISO Lena Smart: “You need to have a good story, and it needs to be understandable and relatable.”

Working in isolation, by contrast, holds all sorts of hazards. In “12 ways to make really bad technology decisions,” InfoWorld contributing editor Isaac Sacolick returns to the same themes again and again: Don’t make assumptions. Interact with stakeholders and customers to determine their actual rather than stated needs. Build proof-of-concept solutions first to validate your choices rather than just plowing ahead.

To succeed in any initiative, you need the right people with the right skills in place, including those who keep your infrastructure humming. As Network World contributor Maria Korolov observes in her overview of network certifications, the needs of IT organizations have shifted to accommodate remote work, resulting in high demand for skills in SDN, cloud, and network automation. Network professionals who earn certifications in those areas are seeing unprecedented salary increases.

For any expansion of the technology estate, neither choosing the perfect solution nor lining up supremely qualified personnel is enough. Yes, continuous change promises to be our default state going forward. But if you fail to articulate how each new step in that evolution will unfold — leading with a realistic picture of the benefits for stakeholders — your efforts may never be fully appreciated.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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