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This does not mean we need to become experts in accounting or warehouse management. We need to be better listeners versus technology proselytizers. Technology within the context of solving a business problem can sometimes sell itself.
I can guess what you are all thinking; “I do not have that much time in the day.” My first suggestion is that you try not to go to lunch alone. I try to schedule lunches with someone from the business side a week or two in advance…typically with a peer or someone identified as the formal liaison with IT. When I was the CTO of a startup in the late 2000’s, I had bi-weekly lunches set up with the head of marketing, operations, accounting and customer service. They were our primary users. I especially enjoyed my conversations with the head of marketing. During the winter, we would get falafels and during the summers we would meet at Baskin Robbins.
My second suggestion would be to change your philosophy toward what your job is. Communicating with the business is an integral part of technology management’s responsibilities. You typically do not have time for something when you consider it an option or ancillary part of your job. If you view the need to communicate with and learn about the business as a critical aspect of your job, then you will find it much easier to make the time. Other activities could be delegated. Until you change your mindset that meeting with the business is important, you will rarely find time for it.
As for my golf instructor’s comment of “Drive for Show, Putt for Dough,” hitting the long drives provide less overall benefits compared to what you do on the green. It is the finer details of the game, such as understanding the business, which will get you the low scores and big wins. So the next time you are thinking of eating alone, I would encourage you to grab your putter and take someone from the business to lunch.
Centroid is a cloud services and technology company that provides Oracle enterprise workload consulting and managed services across Oracle, Azure, Amazon, Google, and private cloud. From applications to technology to infrastructure, Centroid’s depth of Oracle expertise and breadth of cloud capabilities helps clients modernize, transform, and grow their business to the next level.