Posted on February 7, 2020 by Louise Howland
The relationship between an IT team and other departments in a company can often be a fraught one. There are a number of potential factors that can lead to difficulties and impatience on both sides, and these frequently lead to an unsettled workplace. Read on to learn more about commonly heard problems in an IT vs Business environment, and how to tackle them.
Strained relationships between IT and other departments might happen as a result of all sorts of situations in any given business. Having said this, there are some commonly heard complaints.
Many employees talk of having difficulties when it comes to communicating with IT staff; another problematic factor when it comes to business operations vs IT. Whether it’s missed appointments or a lack of progress reporting, it seems there can frequently be limited follow up from their IT team.
Another common problem in communication, that can be frustrating on both sides, is the use of technological jargon. When explaining a problem, if a member of the IT team uses language that other parties do not understand, the listener will simply tune out. This can be exasperating for the person who does not understand, and for the person trying to explain.
Similarly, perhaps because of a lack of understanding of technical problems, some managers report that conversations can be very one-sided. When it comes to decision making, it is often claimed that IT professionals go-it alone rather than welcoming interdepartmental discussion.
If these problems sound familiar, there are a few methods to try to help stimulate improved communication:
Many frustrations on the part of the IT department surround a feeling of lack of support and respect. Because their work is often so different to that of the rest of the company, there is simply quite limited understanding. This, in turn, can lead to others not entirely appreciating the work the IT team does to keep things running for the company. They must keep highly complex systems working and are hugely reprimanded when things go wrong, but yet they are not always rewarded for a job well done.
When IT teams are tasked to roll out new changes, or introduce new systems into different departments, they are often asked to do so without visible managerial support. While doing this, IT professionals often face challenges from colleagues in other departments which they must refute; which in turn can cause confrontation and strained relationships, simply because employees haven’t been informed about the correlation between IT strategy vs business strategy.
As with any employee in any role, one of the best ways to show support is simply to voice appreciation. There need not be any pomp and ceremony, but just an email to thank someone or tell them that their hard work has been noticed.
Another way for the board or management to show that they are in full support of the IT team, is to inform other departments of any upcoming work or changes that will be into place by IT. This will illustrate the fact that changes are being made at the request of the decision-makers, and for the advantage of the business as a whole.
In some places of work there is a real problem surrounding the IT team’s process of looking at issues. In-house IT teams often work using a helpdesk with a ticket system. While this can be an effective way of checking the status and progress of an issue, it can also lead to issues if there are ‘queue jumpers’. For instance, if a person reported an issue that hasn’t been attended to, and then they hear a member of the IT team assisting someone with a problem that has only just been mentioned, it’s likely to cause frustration.
To avoid such problems as these, the best advice is to be strict using the ticketing system. While it might be hard, explain to all employees that the IT team has been instructed to only deal with requests that come through the helpdesk system, and in the order that they are received.
Another tricky factor that must be contended with is the fact that many instructions carried out by the IT team are inconvenient for employees. For example, they might be advised to block specific sites and applications, which employees have requested. ‘Security reasons’ is all too often the reason given when employees are denied the opportunity to download popular, new capabilities. Hearing this frequently can unsurprisingly lead to exasperation and a strained relationship.
This difficulty can be harder to deal with because, more often than not, IT teams will not be given approval to download applications at the request of any employee – and rightly so. Having said this, one idea to improve this situation would be for the IT team to report common requests to the managerial team, to see if any can be accepted. Any decisions about this – either way – should be communicated to all employees via managers, rather than the IT team.
While it might not always feel like it, an IT strategy should run hand in hand with the wider strategy of the business. In fact, it should facilitate business strategy. Rather than trying to battle system changes and IT updates, they should be looked upon favourably and with optimism. This is because new technology is likely to have capabilities that the business can utilise rather than shy away from. Stay on top of your current IT processes with guidance from ramsac. Discover more about our IT business support services, or start by arranging a free IT audit.