Are you mistaking a business decision for a technology decision?

For the past ten years, I’ve been talking to CIOs, CTOs and business leadership about the role technology plays in making their organizations better. And while the conversations have become more business-centric, I’m still surprised at how many times we mistake business decisions for technology decisions.

This problem is understandable; information technology is complex, and today there are 20 ways to solve a problem with technology in contrast to two or three ways to solve the same problem ten years ago. So why do we mistake virtualization for business agility, disaster recovery for risk mitigation, and leasing or other financing options for cost control?

I think it’s because many IT leaders came up through the ranks as problem solvers. We’re ready to throw out solutions before we hear the whole story. The YouTube video “It’s Not About the Nail” is a fun example of this behavior.

But technology solutions don’t address all business problems. Try to solve the problem of attracting and retaining high end infrastructure talent with software and see what happens. Implementing cloud infrastructure without considering the risks associated with the provider can end in disaster. A perfectly implemented disaster recovery scenario can sink a business if the the most critical business data is not being protected.

The simplest way to stay on track is to map all technology decisions to clear non-technical business requirements like:
• Agility
• Speed of Delivery/Time to Market
• Innovation
• Cost Control
• Availability
• Risk Mitigation
• Business Productivity/Efficiency
If you can’t map the technology to a clear business requirement, drop it.

Then ask yourself what parts of the business requirements remain unaddressed, even with the technology. Chances are, people and process issues will still need to be considered and addressed, and these are often much bigger issues that what the technology can solve.

How are the most successful companies addressing business requirements? Contact me.

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