Business Process Before Technology

The importance of defining business process reared its head last week as I sat in a training meeting with some of my new colleagues.

It's easy to focus on the technology, but it's the business process that drives the technology. Too many IT workers concentrate on technical issues. It's imperative to remember that technology isn't why we're employed, though.

You have a choice. Do you want to be a technician or do you want to be part of the business team? I've worked with people who had more technical knowledge than I do. They could spout a number of problems and solutions to technical problems from memory. That's handy, but where does it get them?

Anyone can research how to fix a problem these days. Ask those same technicians to define a business process and they're suddenly out of their element. They expect those answers to be handed to them by the business experts.

Here's the lesson those folks never could comprehend. We're all supposed to be business experts.

The value that Information Technology experts bring to business isn't just knowing how to configure a server or a router. That's no more impressive than the skill of knowing how to type. It's an expected skill, not one that helps you stand out. We're expected to be part of the business team and that means doing more than being a technician.

Business Process Drives Information Technology

business processTrue value comes from knowing how your information technology can support and enhance your business processes. Sometimes that means helping your colleagues refine their ideas to develop that process.

How do you automate something if you don't know what it's going to do? Believe me, I've watched people try. The result wasn't pretty. It's like cranking up a chainsaw and leaving it unattended – chewing up data and anyone who gets in the way.

Making changes to information systems on the fly can have unintended consequences. Ultimately, these systems support a process or reveal the lack of one. The best IT workers know to start with a pen and a whiteboard or a piece of paper to map out the business process before they even touch a piece of technology.

Remember to put the emphasis on the Information before the Technology.

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One comment

  • RaduDee2 March 28, 2013   Reply →

    Indeed. It comes down to the real definition of an engineering – using technology to solve business problems, automate and innovate.

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