In many IT folks’ view, one of the most puzzling phenomena in today’s weave of business and technology is a perceived posture, rightly or wrongly, of ignorance to technology by some in business. Conversely, many business’ staff regard their IT folks as aloof, uncaring, or simply too overburdened to provide an appropriate level of support. In some cases they may even be perceived as under-qualified whether it is true or not. Let’s examine things from the business side first.
Business needs to demystify the technology they own. Therefore, we need to make a sale to top-most management: business leaders and staff must now have enough real knowledge to contribute in crafting a tight weave of technology to business. Think of it as a fabric that won’t shrink, tear, or strangle, and as, respectively, a biz-tech environment that avoids becoming underspec’d and undersized over the course of time (thereby constricting business and associated products, services, and practices) that won’t break (via outages, overloads, etc.) or bring harm to those managing it (poor evaluation reports, dismissals, loss of faith, etc.).
Best protections and progressions are mounte, and maintained through a business-driven IT strategy. Even a tech company is a business. We must explain to top management the necessities so that you’ll have this level sponsoring and sanctioning this obligation for all business management and staff. They must endorse and enforce a savvy business-technology culture by virtue of timely exposures, engaged planning, progressing, and effective use. This isn’t meant to sound draconian, but for brevity’s sake, businesses must take ownership of the business-driven IT strategy.
Business leaders at all levels of the organization often don’t know what their obligation is in this modern business-technology arena. Some who do understand it none-the-less deliberately avoid engaging for various reasons. In a recent solicitation, I found that only two in five business responders believe that their data management strategies have board approval. Just over half believe that senior management of their company places sufficient importance on data management.
Consider insufficient importance placed on data management. Data is our business intelligence subject to breach, corruption, and loss. This posture of avoidance will get people in deep trouble as time goes by, and is indeed creating trouble for many organizations today. According to the Ponemon Institute’s survey of 2,400 IT professionals, 77% of organizations have experienced data loss in the past year. This data’s sensitivity is reflected in types: 52% was customer information; 33% was intellectual property; 31% was employee info, and 16% was corporate plans.
What Business Doesn’t Know Can Hurt It
If you compromise the integrity of your data, you quickly compromise your business’ integrity. Something to keep in mind is that any organization’s number one asset is its reputation. Some like to tell us that people are their most important asset. This sounds good, and we all like to believe it. However, as the old expression goes, “The graveyard is full of indispensable people.” For the organization, the number one asset remains its reputation. Lose that and your people won’t have a place to work. Consider also that your business-intelligence (data) is your business. Lose your data, and you won’t know where you are, be able to plot where you’re going, and won’t have anywhere to really go anyway. Lose your data and you lose your business.
In addition to postures that can compromise the integrity of data and business, you can compromise your organization’s overall security. Recognize that a lack of understanding and engagement on the part of senior business leaders sometimes leads IT to make an outsider’s assessment for where levels of business protections should be placed, where emphasis for new initiatives should go, and where precious budget should be directed.
This does not serve the organization’s business security endeavors or best business progressions well.
By: David Scott is a CIO/Fortune 100 IT professional and author of I.T. Wars: Managing the Business-Technology Weave in the New Millennium which was selected as an MBA text at the University of Wisconsin. David is the sole-proprietor of BTW Consulting: Business writing, policies and plans. His comments have appeared in InfoWeek, Capitol Weekly (CA), and on the DC television show Communicating Today. You can connect with David on LinkedIn or on Twitter by following @davidscott999.