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Seven Ways to Screw Up IT

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

By Samuel Greengard

Today's business environment is fraught with plenty of challenges—without IT adding to the woes. Let's count some of the ways IT can make a mess out of things:

Believe that IT is the solution. With vendors hawking an endless array of "solutions," it's no wonder IT executives constantly think about solutions. It’s important to remember that IT is only the enabler of processes through technology. The best IT solution is a sound process.

Add bells and whistles. Feature-itis has consumed the world. Ninety percent of us use only 10 percent of the features in any given program. It's not surprising that vendors tout features to distinguish hinder success. The key is to use the right features.

Mangle metrics. An IT department can nail every metric, but a business can still find itself dealing with broken systems. So it's crucial to have the right metrics in place—metrics that link to business success.

Enable the bean counters. When everything's about money and cost, then you can pretty much forget about systems that work in the real world. You will find the business coping with pissed-off partners and cantankerous customers. It's all about building the right systems at the lowest cost.

Think tactical not strategic. The days of IT operating as a silo are over. IT executives must interact with the business on a daily basis and thoroughly understand the strategic goals of the enterprise. Tactical capabilities and the right systems flow out of a strategic plan.

Become the gatekeepers. Today's BYOD (bring your own device) movement has swept through the business world like a tsunami, and this has implications far beyond the hardware and software residing within the enterprise. It's all about attracting the right talent and giving people the tools to succeed. This means empowering workers in a way that would have made previous generations of IT leaders cringe.

Think top down. Too many organizations—and IT departments—are controlled by a handful of "sages" at the top. This usually leads to stale thinking and disastrous outcomes. Oftentimes, these executives have no idea what's actually happening on the front lines of the business. Consequently, IT systems control workers rather than empowering them. A better approach: Build an IT framework that supports flexibility and data compatibility and then let middle managers take the reins.

 
 
 

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