Why IT Will Be on the Hook for Bad Processes

Why IT Will Be on the Hook for Bad Processes

There’s an unspoken rule in every office that the first person to voice an opinion about an unclaimed project will immediately be given responsibility to complete that project.

Julie learned this rule the hard way. Eager to impress everyone at her first leadership meeting, she quickly spoke up about a pet project the CEO wanted completed, but everyone else thought was doomed for failure. Julie was suddenly in charge of a full-blown suicide mission with her name taped to the top.

But, against all odds, she pulled it off. When another impossible project came up, Julie (a slow learner) spoke up again and found an equally daunting project to complete. But, undeterred, she nailed that one too.

Suddenly, everyone had a lot of confidence in Julie–maybe too much. Department heads came to her and asked her to pull more rabbits out of hats and fix their units. She began to dread showing up at the office because she knew that soon enough every problem in that office was going to come across her desk sooner or later and one day she might meet her match.


IT Is the New Wonderkid

IT is just like Julie. For a long time, IT stayed back in the shadows, working on some wizardry that many on the business side didn’t understand. Then, IT started speaking up in meetings and solving problems that many thought were impossible. ERPs, CRMs, and custom applications suddenly fixed issues that didn’t seem fixable.

But IT was just getting started. With new collaboration tools, to tracking sales leads, to project management, everyone who had a problem suddenly saw a solution with technology. And IT kept delivering new ideas and custom-built tools.

With digital transformation in full swing, IT’s role has grown to the point where nearly everything will sit under technology. Soon enough, IT will solve problems in every department and be a permanent fixture in every team.


The CIO Has Become the Chief Problem Officer

But just like Julie, this transformation doesn’t mean everything is perfect and happy. In fact, after digital transformation, every problem in business will funnel through the first filter of “Can IT solve this?” So, just like Julie, as the CIO looks out over the existing problems of a company, he/she knows that all of them will come to his/her desk at some point. And while there are more technology tools than anyone could have dreamed of to tackle these challenges, there are still some big problems out there that tech might not fix.

Business leaders are so addicted to technology fixes that they first go to IT and demand them to either find or create a solution. If it will take too long, business leaders quickly find some shadow IT to solve their issues, not worrying about data and security issues.


Processes Are an IT Problem?

This includes how well business processes run. Are approvals getting logjammed? No visibility into the status of leave requests? Errors in copying details from a purchase request to a purchase order? Business leaders will shine the IT-signal in the air and hope that technology will get them out of another bind. IT shouldn’t be surprised as more and more business leaders will come to them and request help in creating automated applications that should help their units run faster.

But if processes continue to flounder and struggle under either an approved or unapproved technology, the responsibility will nearly always come back to IT to find a better solution.


IT Needs to Be Ready With the Answers

Should IT be held exclusively accountable for how well processes function in different departments? Not at all. Sound business process principles need to form the foundation of a successful process, and technology often only magnifies the efficiency or inefficiency of an existing process. Issues from redundancy, manual errors, trackability, slow approvals, and many others can cause huge problems in any department, IT included.

But in the current business climate, IT is the wunderkind and coming up short on a tech solution for business processes isn’t an option. And often, putting sick processes on a digital platform is the first step in realizing what’s wrong with them.  

If you are an IT leader and haven’t found a good solution to solving business process challenges, you need to be ahead of the curve and know how you’ll respond when the coming (if not already present) onslaught of requests for quick, automated processes arrives.

Is your department capable of handling a deluge of small requests for automated processes? Do you need to address each department with a different tool, or is there a single platform that can handle everything?

CIOs and IT leaders need to be ready for the future (or present) and take early responsibility to be part of the solution for bad processes.

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