In a recent post, Toni Bowers (Head Blogs Editor, Tech Republic, Career Management) shared a list of The 10 Hottest IT jobs. Number six on the list was a new one to me and caused me to think. It was one of those "aha" moments where I realized that I have had a paradigm shift (a favorite jargon phrase) about what I would like to do for a living. The source of the original material is Baseline magazine. Here is number six:Business Technology Professionals
"The difference between business technology and information technology roles is that IT delivers a particular service-whether it's a shared service or an application or whatever, while business technology workers accomplish the hybrid goals that live between the business and IT. These are strategic roles that are all about aligning the business needs with IT." At first I thought this was describing an IT Manager or CIO. Read on.
Part of the quote from the original article is very telling: "The fact that there even are designated 'business technology' roles should scare IT professionals because...they exist only because IT isn't doing what is expected of it." In other words, we computer types are not doing well at integrating into the businesses we serve. We are so focused on doing technical tasks that we can miss how our work helps the business grow.Skills that transition easily
In one way, that's a good thing. We who specialize in IT roles can quickly move from one company to another and immediately be successful because the work we do is so similar. An IT Manager supervises a staff of tech support people. A network administrator makes sure the LAN is functioning and the remote locations are communicating properly. A help desk specialist ensure that employees are productive on the computers.
Because there is so much involved to make the technology work smoothly, it is easy to focus solely on that. I can easily forget that today I work for a jet management company because the problems I work on are the same ones I had when I worked in a manufacturing company or in a publishing company or in a distribution company. I live in a world of technology - computers, networks, software, hardware, e-mail and PDAs.Helping the business use the tools of IT
Today I had a call from a vice president who presented a business goal - to share sales opportunities with other members of the sales team. We sell large jets. A member of the sales team spends a large part of each day researching the status of jets that may be coming onto the market. This information is compiled and shared via a daily email that sometimes gets overlooked. He wants a better way to communicate.
Thinking with my IT cap on I suggested a spreadsheet or a database or a web page or Goldmine or Act or... "Wait a minute," the V.P. said, "I don't care what tool we use. It just has to be easy to use, easy to update, sharable by employees from multiple locations and highly visible like this weather widget on my desktop. The data is always there but it is constantly changing." Blink. "I'll have to get back to you on that one," I said.Finding and deploying new tools
I am so focused on keeping the electrons flowing and preventing disruptions to that flow, that I hardly ever think about the business and how new technology tools could help it. The goal of the Vice President of Sales is to sell large jets. My goal as the IT Manager is to maintain the network and to keep my co-workers happy with their computers. I can't think of the last time I researched how to implement a cool new widget.
So yes, I can see that there is a need for a Business Technology Specialist, or a technology evangelist. What a cool job that would be. Imagine, spending all day finding the latest gadgets and figuring out how they could help the business. Would somebody actually be willing to pay me to do that? Is that a job you can find listed on Dice, or Monster.com? I don't think so. Somebody tell me I'm wrong. Educate me. Where is that job?