The other day I was talking to one of my fellow BAs that I hadn’t seen for a while. After some general conversation about our projects and business processes, he bemoaned that “it is not for IT to tell the business how to do their jobs”.

I have heard people use this phrase before but I don’t find it any less alarming. To explain to people in ‘the business’ (a phrase I hate, by the way) not only how they should do their jobs, but to train and educate them, is EXACTLY what IT should be doing.

If we can’t do this, it is often for two reasons. Either we can’t because of time constraints and priorities, or we can’t because we lack knowledge to do so. Either are appalling: It is like phoning up Panasonic for product advice and be told “we don’t understand our products. We let the customers work out for themselves how best to use them, and we ask them if we have queries”.

Bizarre.

To give the person in question the benefit of the doubt, perhaps what he meant was that ‘the business’ should be free to innovate and change and it isn’t for others to impose rules, structure and explanation that might undermine the innovation. This sounds convincing at first, except that in the modern era, technology is in itself the innovator. Innovation isn’t brought about by the traditional ‘business’ making ‘requests’. It is about technology taking the lead. Nobody ‘requested’ the Internet after all, and it wasn’t on someone’s business requirements list.

In my view, this conversation is indicative of how IT is increasingly seen as a detached and remote ‘supplier’ of services and solutions – often only reluctantly engaged as a last resort or late in the day. This is a terrible situation and certainly not one that motivated me to enter the profession.

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