That was the big challenge that Brian Vellmure gave us in Episode 6 of the Transform IT show. We talked about the changing landscape for both business and IT professionals and, in my opinion anyway, a lot of what he had to say was pretty controversial.
First, he related the current business climate to surfing in the ocean. No matter how well you think you know a certain span of beach, even if you go there every single day, every single day it's going to be different. One day there may be massive waves. The next it may be almost flat. The tide, the current - everything changes every single day. And that,at least according to Brian, is the world in which we now live.
The ramifications for us as IT professionals are pretty significant. To begin with, we need to get comfortable that we will be in a constant state of "selling". We will need to be constantly communicating the value that technology can provide and how it can be leveraged. But more than anything, he challenged us to break free from our conceptualization of our own role. He said that in the very near future, titles were going to be nearly meaningless. And that to be relevant, we were going to have to spend a lot more of our time and energy connecting with everyone that is consuming the technology that we're providing.
But he also had some words of hope. He said that as he spends his days with CEOs, CMOs and other business executives he has learned a few things. First, they are frustrated and are increasingly taking more and more control of their technology strategies. But he is also seeing that as they do, they begin to realize how complex it is and that they really don't want to have to deal with it, if they can help it.
Which means that there is a great opportunity for those IT leaders who can step up and step in to fill that gap.
That's great news for those IT leaders who are able to understand this and willing to do what it takes to "shed their IT clothes" and take a different approach.
It's not going to be easy. There's no getting around that. It will take courage, a dedication to really learning about your business and will require that you stick with it even when all the fires are burning around you. But while the stakes are high, the rewards are amazing for those who are willing to do what it takes.