Top Down and Bottom Up views of the IT world
The views of the elusive concept of ‘the Truth’ in the IT world are often upside down. ‘The Truth’ is often not factually correct nor does it have to be, for astute decision makers. But, what is important to know is that your IT staff is very opinionated about facts. And this often has a strong effect on team morale. They often find senior management very fuzzy, and some would even in a moment of honesty describe their superiors as potentially dangerous. Certainly often ignorant.
So what? Well approaching this from a risk perspective, IT techies typically have the crown jewels in their hands. They can switch the lights off – for everyone. Quite literally. They don’t act nasty because they are mostly decent people. And to be fair, they deserve a lot of respect. Also, approaching this from a competitive advantage perspective, what about tapping into your IT resources to drive through your market differentiation? Is it possible?
International Data Corporation (IDC.com), one of the leading IT research and predictive organisations claims that you will not have a choice but to tap into your IT resource pool – see detail here. That or fall out of relevance in the market. Not affording respect where it is due will leave you to fend on your own. The reverse scenario will gift you some rich resources that will be able to help you work miracles.
OK, so until now I have pontificated on potentially common sense matters. Let me offer some real value. Below is two bullet lists summarising key characteristics of, and key differences in, the ‘Top Down’ and ‘Bottom Up’ views of the IT world. This is for both managers and techies who are keen to glean the key differences found on the other side of the fence.
- Information Technology is built on data and logic, and accurate and factual constructs where these two elements are combined responsibly
- The skills required to successfully navigate the world of Information Technology are very concrete. In the end you are dealing with machines and everybody knows ‘Garbage in means garbage out!’
- It takes various levels of competence, brilliance and creativity to manipulate logic and data so that it starts to make sense to humans
- The vast majority of business users are selfishly looking to achieve their business goals, without necessarily realising that the completeness, validity and accuracy of their decisions are materially influenced by the integrity of their IT systems
- While we have the ability to talk to machines, we are human too. Actually, if you are honest and fair to us we will with pleasure help you achieve success
Top down (this how senior management thinks):
- Information Technology is (mostly) a wonderful black box that helps us achieve business outcomes and in the end make money (or serve the public)
- We control or influence the application of resources (money and people) to IT
- It is impossible for us to know all of IT (this BTW, is a universal truth that is just as true for IT techies)
- Because we can’t know all of IT, we will have to rely on some expert advice on where and how to apply resources. This means trust becomes a key driving force in our decision making. If people deliver we have less risk and less people maintenance to commit too, and more time to think of ways in which we can employ technology to the business benefit
- We are not stupid and probably the most important thing we bring to the table is an understanding of how to apply IT to bring about business value, in the end this means making money (or serving the public)
- The reality is that we get given a lot of confidential information (which means we often simply cannot share it) and are asked to make decisions which often has far reaching consequences
- We am human too. If you are honest and can trust us we will do our best to bring about the best outcomes for all of us
Quite obviously there will be differences to aspects of this depending on where you work. Not all people are trustworthy nor competent. But there are more often than not ways that one can uncover that will change average IT teams into success stories and turn dysfunctional IT teams around. If you need further insight, don’t hesitate to contact us to work out what we can do to help.