Feb. 9, 2018 | InBrief

The rise of the business-minded technologist

The rise of the business-minded technologist

We know business and technology teams often struggle to work together to drive results, but why?

These two groups don’t always speak each other’s languages, don’t communicate with any regularity, and are struggling to overcome historical siloes. It’s driving a rift that is affecting your organization’s ability to perform at peak and innovate rapidly.

West Monroe, as a company, was designed with technology at its core while also being focused on solving business problems. By bringing this “uncommon blend” to thousands of clients and projects over the years, as well as our own firm, we have learned many lessons about how to grow business-minded technologists and technology-minded business people – and get them to work well together – to drive success. 

  1. Bring together business and technology as equal. Pure technology initiatives and pure business initiatives no longer exist. Teams need to be blended and integrated, both from an organizational perspective and on site: IT and business should not operate as separate entitles but as tightly integrated collaborators. This will help them develop a common context, bring a critical technology lens to business issues, and fuel innovation.
  2. Raise the bar on your technologists. Resist accepting the stereotype of a technologist as a brilliant individual contributor. More than ever, technology professionals need skills that work across technology and business disciplines. The very best technologists have an innate curiosity to understand business problems and deliver practical innovation. During hiring and ongoing training processes, focus on a functional understanding of your business and desire to drive value back into your organization.
  3. Adopt processes that encourage meaningful communication. Rarely do initiatives fail because of technology itself – failure is almost always due to poor communication. We’ve found an iterative approach to business initiatives with daily participation from both technologists and business strategists can improve time to market, reduce risk, and result in more creative solutions. For technologists to actively participate and drive value in regular meetings, they must possess “soft skills” like communication and leadership. Be sure you are not only interviewing for them, but building them among your technologists once they are on the team.

Learn from our 15 years of experience blending business and technology teams, and how your business will benefit, at WMP.com/BMT.

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