Don’t Be a Dr. No in 2015

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At the New Year, some people struggle to identify a bad habit that they want to end. Their co-workers, of course, instantly produce a long list of irritating behaviors. Similarly, every IT team’s business partners have a 2015 New Year’s Resolution for them – “Stop Being Dr. No.”

Lines of business complain that when they ask their IT for anything new, the answer is always “No.” Sometimes the rejection is instantaneous, with laments about reduced budgets, complex regulations, and distributed operations. Other times the refusal takes the form of “we’ll look at it,” and nothing ever happens. Lines of business don’t aspire to set up rogue IT environments; they feel like they have no alternatives.

Fortunately, IT can curb its “No” habit with two steps:  1) Listen and 2) embrace all the tools in the toolkit.

First, IT needs to adopt the hottest new technology on the market – listening to its customers. Listening is difficult. While another person is talking, most of us think about what we’re going to say next, amusing personal criticisms or something else entirely. After the exchange, we tend to complain about the other person’s inability to understand our challenges, which makes them totally unreasonable. Finally, we look for any reason to dismiss their requests.

With all the challenges that IT teams face, it’s not surprising when this dysfunction happens at both a personal and organizational level. Unfortunately, the business feels ignored, disrespected, and frustrated. IT needs to conduct a conversation in which it demonstrates an understanding of the business’s needs, a willingness to explore viable alternatives, and the respect to not leave issues unaddressed.

Second, IT needs to embrace all the tools in their toolkit.  Many IT teams treat public clouds as a threat because their businesses are bypassing them. Other IT teams focus on everything the public cloud is not (secure, compliant, and protected). The successful IT teams, though, recognize that everything from all-flash arrays to converged infrastructure to cloud is simply a tool. By applying the right tool to the right workload, IT maintains both the connection to the business and the health of the application and information infrastructure. More importantly, the IT administrators expand their skills and job roles.

In 2015, IT can shed its “Dr. No” reputation. IT remains the right place to solve businesses’ technology challenges. We just need to resolve to listen and use all the tools available.

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