The IT to BT transformation and 9 ways to profit from it
The Information Technology (IT) groups we all know and love are, slowly but surely, being transformed into new and more business-oriented organizations, best characterized by the term Business Technology (BT). This transformation of IT from being technology driven toward becoming business driven has long been in the making, is truly taking hold, and will potentially have major implications on your future employment.
I had the pleasure last week of speaking with David Bartoletti, a Senior Analyst with Forrester Research serving infrastructure and operation professionals. His company was commissioned by UC4 Software to evaluate the current state of IT process automation and explore possible areas for improvement. David’s paper was the first place I saw the term/concept of “Business Technology” truly and clearly defined.
For me, the combination of reading this paper and speaking with David brought two seemingly diverse concepts together in a way that provided true insights into the future of IT related jobs. These concepts are:
• The transformation of IT from being technology and process driven to truly being business driven, thus the term Business Technology (BT), rather than Information Technology (IT).
• The effect that IT complexity and slow product delivery has on the ability of the business it serves to move forward.
The movement from IT to BT has major implications on future jobs within IT because of the need for IT professionals to be business people – understand the economics and business outcomes of the technology they deliver – and not just tinkerers or “techies.” As a result, IT professionals not only have to understand the expectations and objectives of the businesses they serve, they must also have the business acumen and soft skills needed to properly interact with their business user counterparts.
The second concept listed above, related to IT complexity and its effect on the business, raises the question of what can be done within IT to reduce its complexity, and thus speed up its time to delivery. This second question brings with it an enormous opportunity for systems architects and other IT professionals who are willing and able to deploy tools and define processes that look at IT holistically, rather than within traditional and singular IT solos with the goal of allowing their IT organization in its aggregate to respond more quickly to business needs.
While these concepts, at least in my mind, make good sense for IT organizations in general, given the nature of my column, I would now like to outline a specific list of action items that individual IT professionals can do to use these trends and concepts to their personal professional advantage.
1. Analyze IT related processes from a business value perspective (business generated, customers satisfied, new business enabled, etc.), not just from a technical standpoint (time saved, steps eliminated, money saved, etc.).
2. Gain an understanding of your company’s business goals and objects. These insights will better position you to view IT related challenges from a business value perspective.
3. Take soft skills related classes, not just hard skill oriented training. These soft skills will better allow you to interact with those within IT and with your business/user counterparts.
4. Try to automate as many of your manual tasks as possible. This will give you more time to interact with the business users you serve.
5. Ask your business users how they measure your success and use this knowledge to help define your work priorities.
6. Don’t wait for the business to come to you with required tasks. Be proactive, work with them to help define these tasks.
7. Investigate what process-oriented technology tools are currently being used within your IT shop and devise new ways to use them to further automate IT and potentially reduce IT complexity. This will help expand your professional brand and move you toward a position of internal thought leadership.
8. Investigate what tools exist that are currently not being used within your company that would help you reduce the time-of-delivery of IT related projects to the business.
9. Develop specialized skill in the tools, methodologies, and processes that will help your IT organization and you personally redirect your emphasis from providing Information Technology and begin providing Business Technology.
In closing, don’t underestimate the professional importance of keeping up with industry trends and reading IT-oriented whitepapers from industry thought leaders. It not only keeps you up to date on current trends, but it also helps you plan out your professional future.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.