IT Solutions vs Luddites & Encyclopedias


It Solutions


The question comes up a lot at dinners and parties or just in passing. Actually, mostly in passing. “What’s new in technology?” they ask. I give them my best quizzical look because it’s a can of worms I’d just as soon not eat, but I know what they mean: “What new gadget is out; what new game system is hot; what new business direction is the new trend?” 


Preemptively, here you go: The gadget is Apple’s iPhone X (I hope Apple™ doesn’t sue me for “naming that which is not to be named”), the game system is Nintendo Switch™, and the new business technology direction is the amazing trend of getting value from information technology. 


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great believer that productivity from IT solutions is substantive, pervasive, and self-evident. Despite what the Luddites might tell you, email allows you to communicate the written word a lot faster than the postal service. Have you used an encyclopedia lately? Didn’t think so. And I bet some of you are googling “Luddites” right now. I’m just not sure we’re doing enough.


Do IT Solutions Equate to Business Value?

We know that we have technology tools that work and make us more productive. Most of us use those tools albeit the adaptation is begrudging at times. We also have a good, broad understanding of what business value means: there are only two sides to that coin.

I would point out, however, that productivity, while it can be translated into business value, is not in itself, business value. Value from information technology must either save us money or make us money. What most of us lack are the business analyst skills combined with some modest technical expertise to get us to the next step. 


The IT department has the technical acumen but doesn’t get us where we need to go because we don’t ask the right question; because we do ask the wrong questions; because we don’t know the question to ask, and because they’re not good at reading blank minds or quizzical looks. 

What we really want to know is how technology can make our business better. Not anyone’s business, but OUR business. Curiously, I have the answer to that question (I’m reading the answer in a book right now) but that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. 


The Value of Baseline Assessments

First things first. We can answer that other question another day. At the risk of losing you, I wanted to talk about “baselines.” More specifically, baseline assessments. Why? Because you can’t get where you want to go unless you know where you are and a baseline assessment tells you where you are. 


There are additional benefits outside of an X stating “you are here.” In information technology, as in so many things, the low hanging fruit is almost always something overlooked. Obvious when pointed out but little noticed in your day-to-day operations.


What Should a Baseline Assessment Cover? 

Many if not most cover the basics of what your network infrastructure looks like but that have limited advantage. Of greater good would be an assessment of how information technology is used by function. 

  • How is your sales team using information technology?
  • How is marketing using information technology?
  • How is finance using information technology?

You get the idea. From there you can get somewhere. That “somewhere” may be just how to use technology to make your business better. 

If you have any questions about information technology and how IT solutions can deliver a specific business return, contact us and let’s schedule a time to talk.