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Where’s The Time To Innovate?

Time equals innovation

21Dec

Years ago, I had the most enjoyable stint at Microsoft. For three years, my team looked after the relationship between IT Pros and Microsoft in the U.S. It was a great job because the entire rationale was to find ways to enhance the IT Pros’ experience, while helping them connect to and understand Microsoft. It was also great because I got to pore over tons of interesting research about the mainstay audience of the IT business.

In order to do the job, I had to immerse myself in information about the life of an IT Pro. 'What do they do?' 'What technologies do these professionals use?' 'How many hours do they work and at what pay?' 'What companies do they like to work with?' These were some of the basic questions we aimed to answer. Add to that were questions like, 'What does he or she spend time doing daily?' 'Do they relate to particular people in the organization?'

The most telling pieces of research, however, pointed to the deep angst of the typical IT Pro: these folks want to innovate and be proactive in building solutions, but have no time to do so; instead, they are stuck in the relentless and Sisyphean grind of daily tasks and dealing with the ever-changing needs of internal customers. With too much to do, too heavy a backlog, and no time for creativity and forward-looking innovation, the IT Pro gets typecast as a person who 'doesn’t get it' and 'only says no.'

From their end, they often ponder, 'If only I had the time' is the most common lament of this fatigued clan of people, who in fact, are responsible for powering and supporting modern organization. This is an irony of profound proportions.

10 years later, things haven’t changed enough. In my current world, the world of data infrastructure, this is brought out in bold relief. In most organizations, data-hungry business users are not able to satisfy their voracious appetites for timely, contextual, and comprehensive data for decision support. Even enlightened companies that deeply understand the need for business teams to have data, on which to base fundamental decisions, have not been able to deal with an essential fact. The fact that as long as data needs are constant and ever-changing, they cannot be met with anything other than self-service and easy-to-use-yet-accurate solutions. 

Vectoring these needs through IT only creates problems for both sides. And in this process, both business and IT lose time, enter a perception war, and collectively dissolve collaboration and creativity that could be used to innovate and explore new vistas. When businesses lose time, money is lost. When IT loses time, innovation stagnates and reaction becomes the order of the day.

Imagine, therefore, a system in which IT was not the bogeyman. Imagine a world in which real business users got real data without long waits, internal battles, and a too little, too late mentality.

To imagine that world is to imagine that IT people, which comprise some of the smartest minds in the organization, get time back. They are liberated from the hamster wheel and given space to innovate. So too are business people. Both, armed with data and time can let their creative juices flow. The move from reactive to forward-looking, from closed to open, from defensive to adventurous.

When these abundant energies are unleashed, the entire organization benefits.

So, when you are in the business of saving time and money, as we are at TimeXtender, you are actually in the business of building new and better things.

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