Save Your Job by Solving Real Business Problems

Businesses Looking for Ways to Cut Costs
Let's face it. The economy has headed lower throughout last summer and weakness in it accelerated through January of this year. Businesses expect the economy to head even lower still, and have proactively cutting costs. It has been clear that IT will not be spared, if it is viewed upon as a cost centre, instead of a necessary cost for solving real business problems.

Through IT, How can we solve real business problems?
This question may be a fully loaded paradox, in that with the wrong approach, IT is itself a real business problem.

A change of the mindset of IT in business is therefore required if an IT team does not want to be seen as just a cost centre to a business that needs to be cut. The IT team must proactively engage its clients, actively seek new ways for its clients to do business more effectively, and fully compliment the objectives of the corporation.

What is that change in mindset?

IT is not a solution, but an arsenal of complimentary tools for a business. Before technology may even be considered as a solution, people on the business side need to involve IT staff from a business standpoint. In my own personal experience, IT solutions succeed only after business processes are understood. This may easily be accomplished: invite IT staff occasionally to various business meetings.

If you are at a high-level meeting with senior management (the guys footing the bill for the project) and they throw in buzz words (“web 2.0!” “Twitter!” “Social Networking!”) as solutions, then it is your job to ask first what it is they hope to accomplish. Once you have drilled down to the problem at a business level, it is only then that the IT team may start to discuss solutions via IT.

In today’s economic client, I have observed that some of the business problems that companies will need solutions to are:

1) Collaborative tools that enable a business to work collectively in an online share environment to achieve a project or operational task.
Microsoft SharePoint Server? Open Text’s solution?

2) Tools that more easily reduce the need to have many servers.
Virtualization tools?

3) Enable the worker to access documents and files anywhere and any place.
Is online storage the solution?

4) Extend the reach for customers in ways beyond banner ads and Google keywords
Twitter? Facebook?

Do you use Twitter? I have never understood the value of twitter and why it is so popular. Comparisons have been made between what Twitter does, and what Facebook did in their most recent user-interface upgrade. It is my prediction that Facebook’s re-design will further set itself a step back. What it did was try to solve an assortment of its own business problems (problems which I speculate exist) of static, passive user activity and low click-through of ads by applying twitter’s instantaneous “status update” design. The low acceptance for this re-design may be seen in a facebook application that collected votes on whether users liked it or not. There have already been over 1.2 million votes so far. Only 6% said “Yes” to the re-design. If you are on Facebook, what do you think of the re-design?

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