Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone understood how the IT systems support the business processes?
In an ideal world, the IT teams would know how systems enable and impact business outcomes. But, that’s in an ideal world…
Unfortunately, there is often a communication gap between the business and IT teams. This means the IT teams don’t know much about the business processes.
Not understanding the business process means higher cost and lower performance IT solutions. These both happen because a lack of understanding leads to less effective solutions. After all, it is difficult to build a great solution if you don’t understand the problem you are solving.
Why does this happen?
One of the main reasons the IT teams don’t understand the business processes is there isn’t any training. Business teams don’t usually provide training to IT about how the business works. Nor do they share how the end-to-end customer experience and flow fit together.
Unfortunately, the majority of IT exposure to business processes happens when something breaks. And when something breaks there is an urgent need to fix it — who has time to deliver training when the house is on fire?
The other main interaction between business and IT is when something new is being built. The requirements ‘process’ is at the heart of those interactions and all I will say is those processes are notoriously flawed.
How do we fix this?
So, how can business teams help the IT teams get more info about the business processes they support?
The answer is simple — give it to them. Show the IT teams how the business processes work. Show them what the customer experiences are, and where the process flows interact.
There are many methods to increase the IT team’s understanding of the business processes:
- Periodic training delivered by the business teams to inform and educate IT
- Create business process flow diagrams and share them with IT
- Work with IT to create joint business process and IT system overviews (at a high level)
- Nominate a liaison to work with the tech teams whenever there is a business process change
- When working to fix any issue, bug, or defect, take 10 minutes to talk about how the issue fits into the business process
- Lunch and learn sessions.
- Business stakeholders give short presentations in the IT team monthly meetings
- And more
Whatever method you choose, the goal is the same, to provide information about how the business processes work. Only then can the IT teams make connections between their work and the way the business operates. And when that happens, everyone wins.
Bridging the business/IT communication gap isn’t difficult. It can’t happen in a single step, but with lots of small steps, the gap will close over time. And when it does, the two groups will have a shared understanding of their common goal.
Imagine that — business and IT working towards the same goal. Wouldn’t that be nice?