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An Unconventional Solution to a Big IT Problem

IT can deliver perfect systems to its users…and unicorns will fly out of the graphic interface! In all seriousness, it’s often difficult to reconcile the need for better IT systems and the intractable divide between users and technology experts. Marc Schiller for CIO Insight would argue that, not only are their expectations too high, most users typically don’t know what they want from an IT system – if they’re available for feedback in the first place.

Who Hid the Business Leader?

Schiller chronicles the building of a core audit process for Crowe Horwath by CIO Yvonne Scott and team. The audit system had become obsolete and needed an immediate replacement. But when it came time for business leadership to get involved and review all the hard work Scott and her team had completed, they were nowhere in sight. That is, the individual leader in question was always on the road, meaning Scott had to send her key enterprise architect to travel with him.

Get in their Face!

Was Scott’s solution extreme and unnecessary? Schiller disagrees, citing that an abiding, face-to-face engagement with the business end as the factor that ultimately secured the project’s success:

In this highly mobile, fast-changing business world of ours—where meetings are canceled on a moment’s notice, and services like GoToMeeting and WebEx are meant to replace face-to-face interaction—we are tempted to believe that remote interactions are the only way to work, and that compromises have to be made in order to get through the project deliverables.

Wrong! Schiller maintains that project success hinges on interpersonal communication with relevant business stakeholders. In addition to getting project approval, Yvonne’s team was able to bring business peers into key project roles, elicit the active support of business leadership, and garner input for future project designs.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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