March 27, 2024

Bridging the Gap Between Business and IT: The Importance of Education and Culture

As we approach the first anniversary of launching the online, (and now monthly) format of the Technology & Innovation Forum, a review of our previous content has revealed several recurring themes. While the topics addressed - Organisational Structure, Data, Microservices, and AI - were deliberately chosen based on member requests, the summaries, conclusions, and recommendations that emerged organically from the sessions began to sound remarkably similar:

Key Takeaways:

  • Bring tech and business together
  • Allow time for education and learning
  • Create space for experimentation and failure
  • Embrace constant, incremental change to minimise risk and disruption
  • Deliver regular, tangible outcomes to demonstrate progress
  • Organise and freely share data
  • Prioritise constant communication

Knowing vs Doing

So, if we know and agree on best practices for technology projects, why don't we consistently apply them? This question deserves deeper exploration at our upcoming in-person event in June. In the meantime, let's take a closer look at the topic of education and learning.

Two Categories of Training Needs

In the area of technology, there are two primary categories of training needs:

  1. Technologists
    This includes both in-house IT colleagues, who may be so focused on the mechanics of making things work that they lose sight of the asset finance industry's specifics and quirks, and solution provider teams, particularly the product developers and implementation specialists who are critical to successful deployment but may lack context about the industry's financial instruments, regulations, and processes.
  2. Technology Users
    This encompasses everyone working at asset finance providers. Their training needs differ from their technical colleagues and relate to understanding the potential and use of technology, expressing requirements effectively, testing solutions against those requirements, and collaborating productively with technologists and project participants, both internal and external.

Broader Skills for Digital Transformation

As our reliance on technology grows and the pace of advancement accelerates, it's becoming increasingly important for business colleagues to develop skills traditionally reserved for IT, such as Agile Development, Scrum Mastery, and Product Ownership.

Point solutions, microservices, and AI can quickly and cost-effectively augment our digital landscape, enhancing customer interactions, expanding sales channels, and increasing efficiency. To leverage these benefits, business teams must be able to identify problems precisely, define business cases, actively participate in solution selection, and contribute to implementation and testing.

Prioritising Education and Learning

However, even with the right educational material and delivery methods, how seriously do we take training fulfilment? What resources do we allocate to it, and how do we motivate and measure the impact of better-trained employees? Perhaps most critically, how much time and space do we allow our teams to engage in and benefit from education and learning?

Bridging the Business-IT Divide

The goal is not for business to take over IT leadership or vice versa, but rather to foster a closer, more symbiotic relationship. By treating each other as equally important and interdependent, and developing a shared understanding of challenges, business and IT can improve communication effectiveness and increase the success rate, efficiency, and outcomes of technology implementation projects.

A Cultural Challenge

Creating alignment between business and IT goes beyond education; it's a cultural challenge that involves the entire organisation. Every area that uses technology has a stake in seeing more effective adoption of modern, agile solutions to everyday problems. As such, the whole business must take ownership of facilitating the learning of skills necessary to enable digital transformation. We'll delve into these broader cultural challenges in an upcoming article.

For further information, contact:

Simon Harris, Consulting Director, Finativ
email: simon.harris@finativ.co.uk

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