An Open Letter to IT Service Providers and Small Business Owners

Dear Friends,

I speak as a man of two nations, bridging the great and abysmal chasm that separates two equally necessary groups that seemingly must ever exist apart.  I speak of the commonwealth of business with its drive for growth, success and profits.  I speak of the nation of technology with its love of innovation, problem-solving and shiny things.  They should be the greatest of friends and allies, but barriers in language and world-view conspire to keep them apart.

I’m speaking to you Alan the field technician who is trying to fix that law firm’s Blackberry Email problems.  The lawyers who own that firm and the people who work there care as much about your convoluted explanations of the inner workings of DNS, BES, SMTP and POP as you do about oral hygiene.  (Seriously, brother, get some mouthwash or a mint or something.)

I’m also speaking to you Jerry the mortgage broker with 25 people in your office.  The broken down five year old computers that you bought at Wal-Mart are not going to help you grow your business and increase your profitability.  Nobody is saying you have to buy top of the line, but new equipment will make your people happier and more productive.

We must do better at working together.  Technical people you MUST do a better job of communicating, documenting and following up with the business folks.  After hearing a users problem, you cannot tell her that “You’ll get used to it” just because your Google search didn’t give you a quick fix answer.  You can’t stop working on a problem and not let the user know what the next steps are.  You simply can’t attempt to baffle them with bull every time you don’t know the answer or don’t feel like working on their issue. NEVER.

Business owners, you MUST be a little more patient with and give a little more credit to the technology folks.  When you are planning out your new software project, don’t call your provider the day before the rollout and tell them there are five or six more things you need it to do and not expect to affect the delivery date.  Don’t call an expert, listen to their advice and then tell them how you know better.  NEVER.

We know we can’t live without each other.  We know that life would be far worse if we went our separate ways. 

IT guys, wake up!  The business needs for us to SUPPORT them in getting to their goals as efficiently as possible.  They need our help to get the absolute most technology bang out of their hard earned bucks.

Business people, know that technology people aren’t like other people.  They LOVE the tech for its own sake and sometimes forget that it has to make business sense.  Please help them in staying focused on what is important to you.  Most technology professionals are hard wired to want to help, like a St. Bernard.  Point them in the right direction and they will dig your problems out of the avalanche.

I know that what I am asking is akin to getting Jerry to stop beating on Tom, like getting the Sharks to bury the hatchet with the Jets, or like getting Mac guys to admit they actually ARE PCs.  In spite of this, I remain hopeful that these two worlds can come together for the benefit of all.

 

Dave Purdon,

Student of Business and Life,

Lover of Shiny Things