Monday, December 22, 2008

Business Problems VS Technical Problems

A business problem is when employees can't execute their job duties in an efficient fashion. In fact sometimes they are unable to complete the tasks at all. Business problems are especially costly when they directly affect customers. These problems can cause cash flowing into the company to be delayed as a customer waits to place an order, or to receive goods (and hence to pay), they can cause revenue to be lost as a customer temporarily takes their business to a competitor or a finds a substitute, sometimes this leads to customers forming new business relationships and loss of all future revenue from that customer. Non-customer affecting business problems may result in higher costs without affecting revenue. For example a problem on the job shop floor causes workers to put in overtime to complete customer jobs on time, raising costs without directly affecting the customer.

As Rodd Wagner and James K Harter point out in their book 12: The Elements of Great Managing company profitability is highly correlated with employees knowing what is expected of them, and when having adequate tools and materials (elements 1 and 2). When these two elements are short changed business problems result, costs go up and revenue goes down.

A technical problem is often the root cause of employees not having adequate tools or materials. A more specific definition could be that a technical problem is cause of the Information Technology department (people, process and technology) not being able to adequately fulfill a need expressed by the business. This inadequacy could be a matter of accuracy, timeliness, or consistency. It could also be a matter of lacking the capability. These are technical problems, like can't provision and deprovision accounts and entitlements quickly enough, accurately enough (deleted the account for the wrong Jane Smith), consistently enough (only 10 of the user's 16 accounts deprovisioned on the average per IDC) because the Identity Management system goes down frequently, or is too complex to change and the rules it enforces are outdated. Another possible technical problem could be that requests are lost or seem to take forever to be fulfilled either because the process supported by paper or a help desk ticket doesn't move efficiently. Requests may be fulfilled incorrectly, or inconsistently because the fulfillment is not automated and/or checklists don't exist or aren't followed.

Hence good managers look for ways to provide a knowledge of expectations and the sufficient tools and materials for their employees to do their jobs. I believe you'll agree that one of those great tools is ILM "2"

1 comment:

William said...

I like how you linked business problems to technical problems. I think they affect each other in a lot of ways. You always need to balance them so you can succeed.

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