My Aching Technology Department

By Elizabeth Bennett Print this article Print

Sometimes it's hard to know exactly where the pain in your information technology comes from. Use this worksheet to zero in on a diagnosis.

Sometimes it's hard to know exactly where the pain in your information technology department comes from.

"It's like a patient who tells a doctor that his knee hurts, when it's actually his hip that's causing the fundamental problem," says Ann Browne, vertical market director of Lawson Software's service process optimization division.

When the patient is your technology department, you need to make sure that an ache in one area doesn't cause a knee-jerk reaction in another. For example, Browne says, take the technology unit that simply adds business liaisons to each department rather than directly addressing its customers' general mistrust. "They may add to the comfort level, but it's an extra layer of expense," she says.

XLS DownloadAnother pitfall is the tendency to overpromise and underdeliver, says Lou Pereira, senior product marketing director at St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson. That fuels a perception of the technology unit as an unresponsive black hole. The problem's compounded when information technology departments fail to adopt a good method of determining the value of their work.

To remedy the situation, technology managers need to think strategically, Pereira says, and combat "utility company" expectations in which "people think everything [in technology] should work perfectly with the flick of a switch."

Baseline and Lawson Software created the diagnostic quiz at left to help technology managers locate their departmental pain. The quiz focuses on four main areas: customer satisfaction, project management, financial management and performance measurement. An especially high score in one of those areas may help you zero in on a diagnosis.

This article was originally published on 2003-10-09
Senior Writer
Elizabeth has been writing and reporting at Baselinesince its inaugural issue. Most recently, Liz helped Fortune 500 companies with their online strategies as a customer experience analyst at Creative Good. Prior to that, she worked in the organization practice at McKinsey & Co. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College.
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