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10 Things to Help You Bridge the IT/End User Divide

Sometimes, things can get a little hostile between IT and the end users. They both might end up thinking things about each other like, “Do those people have any idea what they’re doing?” The answer, of course, is yes (we hope), and better communication is the way for them to prove it to each other. Mary Shacklett writes for TechRepublic about ten ways IT professionals can bridge the gap.

Rope Ladders and Wooden Planks

  1. Get to know the business.
  2. Form alliances with key end users in the business.
  3. Listen.
  4. Don’t be arrogant.
  5. Understand the business process behind the app.
  6. Take a business course.
  7. Learn how to read the corporate financials.
  8. Be service-oriented.
  9. Follow up on that service.
  10. Look for ways to bring instant pain relief.

Consider the shape of the business from the business’s point of view and not that of IT. You will develop empathy for the way users in the business operate. Try to develop a relationship with some key end users who are enthusiastic to discuss issues from both sides of the fence of application development. Abate customer complaints that IT does not listen by adopting a customer service attitude. But one particularly unique point you might not have considered is about reading the financials:

Early in my IT career, I was a junior employee at a company where the CEO would take all of the employees through the company financial statements each month. He wanted us to understand how the business was doing. As my business knowledge grew, I began to more fully appreciate how important it was to grasp the financials, which are actually the lifeblood of the business. This furthered my business acumen and clued me in on how IT could best deliver business value.

Like anything else, building better relationships between IT and the end users take work. For more elaboration on each of Shacklett’s points, you can read her full article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-things-to-help-you-bridge-the-it-end-user-divide/

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