Do you get lied to by your IT department?

Everyone lies, it is human nature, some are necessary in order to protect someone’s feelings while others are to hide something illicit. Regardless we all told a porky and have been on the receiving end of one.

IT managers are often not called out on things because they are often deemed to be the expert. CIO.com has recently asked several IT managers to share some of the biggest lies and faux pa’s they have told themselves or others in their organisations.

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Lie #1 - I've got Security covered:

This is the biggest, scariest and most dangerous lie that IT managers tell themselves or others. While IT teams know that security is massively important but trying to secure budgets for tools or processes is hard.

Businesses will always have people trying to get in, internally and/or externally; and as such businesses need people who wake up thinking ‘how am I going to protect our systems?’

Lie #2 - The Project is 'GREEN":

When IT teams label projects ‘green’ meaning that it is on track, on time and under budget – what a load of old tosh!

IT projects often go over budget and very rarely meet timescales – typically this is down to issues with development and/or User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Just because everyone thinks everything is OK, it doesn’t mean that it is. Somebody must take stock and see if all the effort is worth the time.

Lie #3 - We have the budget for this:

So, your business is going to invest in and deploy a new tool and/or system – you talk to the experts, find the right supplier, get the relevant teams on board and the IT manager is sure they have the budget for it.

Guess what – that last statement is generally false.

Businesses often underestimate the cost of deployment; lots of IT managers underestimate how expensive it is to properly implement and integrate tools. Typically, an IT department will spend between £30k & £50k on a tool or system – but don’t take the cost of deployment into consideration and end up spending an extra £10k at least.

Lie #4 - Someone will tell me when something is wrong:

Many IT managers will (and do) believe that at least one person will speak up when something is off. People will discuss issues internally, but when it comes to speaking up to their manager – they either don’t feel empowered to or don’t want to step out of line. They know that the project will go wrong but would rather watch it happen then step outside of their role to stop it.

Lie #5 - When the budget gets bigger - IT will run PERFECTLY:

So many IT managers have been known to say that if the IT budget is increased, he/she will be able to hire additional people to get the IT infrastructure firing on all cylinders. Problem is, more budget will typically lead to more issues meaning that those inherent IT issues take longer to get sorted, if they get sorted at all.

Lie #6 - IT knows what the business needs:

Business development, marketing or some other department will come to the IT team with some sort of idea and a blueprint for what it is they want. The IT team reviews it, agrees the project and goes off to build it, believing that they know what is needed and what is right.

It is only when the IT team deliver the ‘finished product’ that the lies are revealed, as when they present it to the team who requested it they say ‘that is not what we wanted’, ‘our needs have changed’ or something similar, even if the project has been delivered to specification. This happens because the two groups are not speaking the same language and building technology is often too complex and specific for non-IT people to fully grasp and the best way around this is to document every stage.

Lie #7 - My relationships with our suppliers are great:

Many (not all) IT managers believe that their relationships with their suppliers and vendors are great, but if they were to take a serious look at who they have relationships with – you will most likely find that they are with a salesperson or two, or perhaps an account manager; not with the people/teams that are providing/delivering the service.

An account managers job is to create and nurture relationships which is why you will find that at least one of the contacts will be an account manager (or similar). But does your IT team know who to talk to for technical issues with software/services? Do they contact that person directly or do they go into a technical support helpdesk and speak to the first available agent?

Lie #8 - They'll find the time to learn about Emerging Technologies:

An IT manager’s job is demanding. Even more so now than perhaps before; everyone is attempting to find a better work/life balance, and learning about new and emerging technologies, after a day or work, falls way behind everything else.

While it can be damaging, long term to an IT managers career to go stagnant and while no-one wants to become a relic – staying on top of new technologies is hard work and as such; many an IT manager does end up failing in keeping up to date, which means that your business could be at risk from falling behind.

Lie #9 - Customers are idiots:

If you were to say to IT managers that the customer is always right, they’d rip their hair out and insist the users are always wrong. But what happens when you go into a clothing store with no idea of what you want or what they have. You know only that you need something to wear. You ask for help, and a salesperson asks questions then chooses items that suit your needs, size, and budget.

If you walked into IT, you might say, I want a blue sweater and the response would be, ‘We don’t have blue sweaters.’ But then they’d tell you ten other names for blue that are technically blue but not actually called ‘blue.’”

Most of the time, the users don’t know what the problem is and are not good at articulating what’s wrong. But they are having an issue. That’s what they’re right about. If IT departments and managers operated like the user is right, in the sense that they know they need something, there’d be a more collaborative relationship between the IT department and the rest of the business.

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To recap:

  • IT Managers are busy people who know a lot of useful stuff relating to your business.
  • When an IT Manager is working for your business, they are working IN the business and not ON the business.
  • IT Manager roles should be aligned with the strategic direction of the business.
  • If your IT Manager isn’t working ON your business – consider outsourced expertise for this to work in conjunction with your IT Manager. Giving your business the technical expertise as well as the strategic and competitive edge.

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