Jain Temple

Hot Spots

India Links
Call Home


Art & Culture
Book Shelf



About Us

Contact Us
About Us

Article by Mohan Babu


Business trends for IT professionals

In a sluggish marketplace, IT professionals should not just keep waiting for the good old times to return, but gear up to take on new challenges and become more business-savvy, writes MOHAN BABU

This is a time for introspection for IT professionals around the world. With the economies in the US and Europe failing to show signs of overcoming sluggishness of the past two years, even the outlook for the beginning of 2003 appears gloomy. The technology sector too is holding back on any marked growth, almost as if waiting for the rest of the economy to rebound. However, even a time of slowdown is not a time for professionals to sit-back and wait for things to happen. On the contrary, this is the time to refocus on one’s priorities and goals and working towards them. Most major IT publications and consulting firms have been talking about this need for professionals to refocus their energies. Among the different ideas floating around, Gartner’s view for IT professionals stands out. The eight guidelines for technologists from Gartner include:

  • Take inventory of your technology and business knowledge. Be honest about bare spots, and expand your knowledge.
  • Get smart about the key drivers of your company’s business: Network with business counterparts to discuss their financial and operational objectives. Become the business-knowledge liaison to your IT team.
  • Identify required services: By understanding your business, you will be able to identify and implement services that will help drive your company’s success. Integration, process insight and versatility will be the watchwords.
  • Become an evergreen professional: Pursue emerging and enduring knowledge, competencies and experiences.
  • Seek leadership opportunities and accountability: This is not the year to lay low. Mergers and acquisitions, consolidation and globalisation will increase the number of projects and internal initiatives. Step up to the plate.
  • Strengthen your knowledge of business principles: There are dozens of ways to gain business acumen: accounting, communications, financial analysis, marketing, cost management and so on. Additional business know-how will enhance your career and increase your credibility in the business units within your company.
  • Get connected: Network with project leaders and champions. Careers are built on both what you know and on who you know.
  • Find new value in prior IT investments: Revisit the applications and technologies that have been deployed and re-apply functions and features to new processes. Your success will depend on your newfound knowledge of business processes, customer markets and financial goals.

This list by Gartner is really interesting because it focuses on the importance of merging an individual’s IT skills with the business knowledge and building business acumen. The old school of technology careers focused on the need to build deep technical skills. Business managers and IT leaders are now revisiting that theory by requiring their IT professionals to become more business-savvy. Therefore, it is becoming important for individuals to align their career with that of the functional requirements of the business. This is becoming more pertinent as organisations get leaner and expect individuals to work on cross-functional teams by removing additional layers of management. For example, in most large organisations, IT departments used to employ dedicated teams of business-consultants whose main job was to liaison between development teams and users. The new paradigm is shifting towards requiring IT professionals to also extend their knowledge by acquiring the ability to liaison directly with the end-users by being involved in preparing business requirements.

Businesses are realising that IT, in most cases, is a non-core functional area that can either be outsourced or be done transparently without the day-to-day intervention from management of functional teams. For instance, finance and sales managers do not want to be involved in technical decisions regarding the selection of software, deployment of networks, hardware, interconnections, etc. IT managers supporting the functional areas are expected to step up to the plate and work on appropriate technical solutions by understanding the business requirements.

Indians and Indian consulting houses are also closely watching this trend. Until recently they were content to remain focused on technologies by getting the design and technical specifications from end-users and clients, coding and deploying the technical solutions. However, now is the opportunity for us to graduate up the value chain by acquiring the functional knowledge to interact with end-users at a business/functional level, and translating those discussions into IT solutions that will solve the business problems. This is the perfect opportunity for Indian IT professionals to move up the value chain.





About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
  • Sponsored Advert

    Advert: Visitor's Travel Insurance

    Click for free online Quotes


    For FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America, visit the Ask-A-Desi section

    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


    GaramChai® 1999-2005