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Elevating Thought Leadership in Information Technology
Christopher Nichols, Director It/Ot Resiliency & Support, Stanley Black & Decker
We all have heard of Thought Leadership; in fact, in some areas such as sales and marketing, there are rather robust processes, but what about Information Technology (IT)? The never-ending quest of IT leaders is to become better thought leaders, to keep organizations safe and running, but with the constant technological changes happening, where do we begin? The biggest challenges of being an effective thought leader in technology are technology knowledge and vendor management.Technology is expanding what seems to be an exponential rate and Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Predictive Analytics, Green Tech, Supply Chain, Digital Identity, and overall IoT Security have become focus areas.
The sheer number of technology companies is expanding quickly but there seems to be little that ties everything together as evidenced by the continued low rates of project successes. This might be due to biased or myopic approaches in an endless circle of repeating the same old ways because the industry is designed to sell as much software and related services as possible rather than focus on what is best for organizations who are trying to implement technologies for improved and increased data collection and systems integration to improve costs, throughput, quality, and real-time information. Providing the best answers to questions are difficult to wrap up into innovative conversations, so where do we start?
Well, let’s start with challenging the status quo by understanding how to recognize misinformation, false expectations, and blind spots. The first step is delegating the right tasks to the right people with the right capacity while simultaneously launching plans to increase cross-skilling to help ease monotony and keeping stakeholders in the loop. Secondly, as IT projects are prone to cost and schedule overruns, it is important that leaders provide leadership throughout stages and building a second line of qualified leaders. Honesty and transparency are often lacking as software generally focus on cookie-cutter approaches with a focus on bells and whistles but they should be addressing specific use cases because supporting a deficient system can get costly. Producing content that is well-curated and well-researched around organizational challenges positions leaders as thought leaders.
We all want to make the organization a better place as it relates to delivering advanced capabilities, enhance collaborations and information access, providing a robust modernized infrastructure, and driving centralized support while improving security. The business wants to advance business management practices that call for a certain amount of customization and variance to ensure performance of core business functions. These two areas are seemingly opposed in many ways because customizations are more difficult for IT leaders to manage and support which is why knowledge management is becoming more critical as a Thought Leadership principle for IT Leaders.
Knowledge management can be a systematic approach of capturing and organizing information to ensure that information is available and people have access to information in order to make timely informed decisions. Posting plans or knowledge share without content management tools is not effective. Technology Thought Leaders should take an enterprise approach to engage department experts to improve knowledge discovery and knowledge management which will improve training, cross-skilling, and methodologies that is properly managed. Knowledge management can make it possible to provide robust and secure systems that support on-demand access to information which in turn improves support. OK, so what do we do?
Technology Thought Leaders should take an enterprise approach to engage department experts to improve knowledge discovery and knowledge management which will improve training, cross-skilling, and methodologies that is properly managed. Knowledge management can make it possible to provide robust and secure systems that support on-demand access to information which in turn improves support
There are five key focus areas that are seemingly common, yet elusive to many organizations: Organization, Prioritization, Communication, Leadership, and Project/Task/Program management. I say common because we have all heard these terms yet we always struggle we with all these things on a daily basis. Think about how many projects do not meet timelines or how many email strings have multiple responses, or how many meetings have weekly updates where tasks are lagging. These are examples of projects that are not organized properly probably due to new technologies or customizations but knowledge management can aid to help build process flows and standards which can make processes and people transparent to solve problems more quickly. This will in turn help to understand priorities (prioritization), which helps to understand what resources are required and what communications are needed (communications), which helps leaders understand how to make decisions (Leadership), which comes full circle to appropriately manage programs, projects, and tasks.
Every department produces and stores vast amounts of data and knowledge daily. The adoption and effective use of knowledge management is challenging to bring together all the silo methods and departments together but the right way to do it is through knowledge repository to promote actionable intelligence and eliminate duplicate or outdated information. Content is critical in IT Thought Leadership, which may backfire if poorly executed and lead to missed opportunities. Executing an effective knowledge management system will make information accurate, reduce records, and expedite processes.