Solving Tech Problems Without IT

Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial | 8/9/2013 | 74 comments

Susan Nunziata
If you're doubting that the relationship between the business and IT sides of the enterprise has changed forever, a recent technology deployment at McAfee is likely to put to rest any lingering uncertainty.

We all know McAfee as a major vendor of security solutions. The company has almost 7,000 employees and operations in 130 countries. Brian Bayless, VP GTM Finance, is responsible for financial oversight of McAfee's enterprise business division, which accounts for about half the company's revenues, according to a prepared statement. He had to find a solution that would get the division's 1,500 sales people off spreadsheets and separate databases and onto a single, worldwide model for managing quotas and sales compensation.

"We were spread across 10s of spreadsheets and more than 40 databases," Bayless told Enterprise Efficiency in an interview. "We're calculating payments across 70 different roles, in five theaters, with a million-plus line items. You blow up traditional database and spreadsheet capabilities pretty quickly with that."

For example, Bayless said, "We'd have a database for rep attainments in North America for Q1. If I wanted to look at every quarter for the past three years, that's 12 databases."

In addition to the sales reps, he said there were anywhere from 30 to 50 people in finance at any given time who were working with the existing spreadsheets and databases. Added Bayless:

    It was impossible to turn around analytics. It was impossible to turn around reporting in any reasonable period of time. People were doing a really good job ensuring we were paying accurately, I just wasn't sure we had analytics in place to make sure we were paying the right amounts to the right people based on right-sizing that region.

Bayless said that what he was looking to accomplish fell into what might be considered "soft" metrics. "I was trying to improve sales rep productivity. Having each rep spend five hours a month with a spreadsheet isn't productive. These were softer measurements, it's not a true revenue-generating, topline-building project."

Yet, after nine months of searching for a solution, Bayless said that all he could find were three or four vendors offering big implementations that would involve millions of dollars in capital expenditures and nearly millions of dollars in ongoing maintenance.

When Bayless finally found Anaplan, a cloud-based platform, his finance team worked with an Anaplan Solutions Architect to design, build, and test the new solution within a few weeks with no IT support.

That's right: No IT support.

"I was able to put the development and building in the users hands The business users know how to use it. It's not something I'm translating IT and then having them build for us," said Bayless.

Bayless noted that the business side's relationship with IT has changed over the past few years:

A couple of years ago, our relationship with IT was challenging. We would search for a solution for something, and we would go to IT with expectations that they would deliver a solution. But IT operates in same budget-constrained environment that we do. They're under as many, or more, budget constraints than we have. It was unfair to expect them to be able to find the budget to deliver everything that the business needs, when the business needs it.

The relationship with IT quickly went from 'We need this' to 'Here's a tool that, as long as it fits into your architecture vision and you are good from a security standpoint, we will actually develop what we need to use as long as you enable us to use the tool when we can.' It's become much more of a partnership.

The Anaplan solution itself has proven itself out, according to Baylesss:

We are doing territory planning, quarter modeling, commission calculation. We're able to do future forecasting and capacity planning, which use that same type of data. We're now able to build those things out using same tools and the same data source. Reports that used to be impossible to get across DBs and spreadsheets are possible. Calculations that used to take 24 hours or more to run now take less than a couple of hours. Instead of doing commissions on a weekly or monthly basis, I can now do it on a daily basis. I can analyze it at quarter end on a multiple-times-per-day basis. What we've basically gotten to is a real-time commission visibility model.

For Bayless, though, the biggest soft ROI gain is reducing the time that reps spend working with commissions data or order data. "The amount of time they spend crawling through spreadsheets or crawling through order data is three- to four-times reduced. It doesn't go to zero, but it's down from 10s of hours per quarter to single digit hours per quarter."

Another bonus is that sales teams have now started coming to Bayless with ideas on how to use the exact same data to do forward-looking forecasting and planning. "If we're successful in that, we've got a lot more potential inside of McAfee to unlock a lot of value," said Bayless.

What do you think about business users taking tech matters like this into their own hands? Are they doing IT a favor by solving a departmental problem without demanding your time and budget? Or are you worried that they're becoming so empowered that they'll be tempted to cut IT out of the mix altogether?

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Joe Stanganelli   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/9/2013 10:02:52 PM
IT Department as a tool
Re: "What do you think about business users taking tech matters like this into their own hands?  ...[A]re you worried that they're becoming so empowered that they'll be tempted to cut IT out of the mix altogether?"

It seems to me that this is empowerment business users should and always have ultimately had.  IT exists to support the business user -- not the other way around (as much as a few IT individuals might like to think).   IT is a way of getting things done.  This situation strikes me as little different from owning a toolbox but deciding to hire a contractor anyway.

That said, IT serves important (including vital) business functions.  Ultimately, though, the business is about -- well -- whatever the business is about, whether that's selling widgets or a particular service.  If you spend too much time and resources on something that is "one off" from your bottom line, it's time to reevaluate how you're doing things.  That's why solutions like this are great.
Zaius   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/9/2013 11:58:32 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Solving any problem without IT is almost not feasible. IT reaches and touches everyone. Even if, a sales team is planning to perform better, they can do it with more ease if they seek IT's help. Sometimes, it is difficult to formulate a 'non-IT' route to the solutions of Tech problems.
chris.had   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 11:08:25 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Zaius: Excellent comment. IT was something novel long time back but right now things have changed dramatically and IT has become the heart of any organization and it its business process. You simply cannot do anything without IT these days since many have identified the importance and the easiness when you combine your work process with IT.
Shamika   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 1:27:21 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@ chris.had I agree with you. Don't to you think that it is the lack of knowledge and skills the business has on IT?
a.saji   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:20:50 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Shamika: Well lack of knowledge ???? Hmm  good question. Well it might be but I think most of the businesses that run in the industry today has a good knowledge about the technology. In other words none of the businesses do run without IT.   
shehan   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 5:37:38 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@a.saji no doubts. However the IT helpdesk that we have use to get carless queries most of the times. With that analysis we have found that we do not have enough knowledge on the technical aspect. Believe it or not there are some user who has made complains when they get the login credentials in order to input in to the system.
Ariella   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 9:45:38 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@shehan Some people do call in with problems that are very simple because they aren't very tech-literate. But sometimes the problems are challenging even for experienced tech people. Believe it or not, crowdsourcing is a big help here in the form of Google. One support person I know says that when he is stumped, he can usually find that others had the same issue and offer a fix.
stotheco   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 12:37:52 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Ariella is right. The problems people phone in with vary in degree of technicality and difficulty. Some are very simple. These are usually phoned in by tech illiterate people. Then there are the very complicated problems. In both scenarios, a pro would be able to handle it best.
stotheco   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 12:48:46 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Some people don't try to solve their problems on their own. They just get on the phone right away and ask for tech help. Sometimes, I wonder if this is the reason why some companies have outsourced their tech hotlines.
Ariella   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:10:25 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@stotheco some people live like that. Their motto seems to be, "why bother to figure things out for yourself when you can ask someone else to do it for you?" I have neighbors like that. I once offered to pump their bikes, and now forever after, they expect someone from my family to pump them. They have not purchased their own pump or learned how to use one they could borrow.
eethtworkz   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:20:02 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Ariella, Haven't u heard of the tough love approach? Its time to show some of it here.
Ariella   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:28:07 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@eethworkz I try, but they seem hopeless. And they don't get that they should learn to take care of themselves. So some things my kids end up doing -- like editing this neighbor's emails. I did it the first 3 times or so, but I resented her asking for a service that I charge for in my business. So I let my teen daughter handle it, and she doesn't mind. You'd think an adult would be embarrassed, but she emails her with requests for proofreading regularly. Oh, and they also ask my husband for computer fixes regularly. 
Zaius   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 11:28:53 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Stotheco: overusage is not the reason for outsourcing. The key factor is it saves money. I , however, agree that there are people  who will call IT before checking the connection of the mouse is loose or not. There are also some people who are afraid of tech.
Hayder   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/13/2013 2:33:34 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Zaius one thing which I have noticed is that since the advent of IT field, people who can do a job related to IT field being in any sector of organization are now reluctant to come forward even if any thing happens to them and they very well know how to solve it still stays away from that. If you ask them the reason they will reply that why the IT department is their, they are being payed for this so they should rectify that.
Nomi   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/14/2013 2:26:21 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Hayder true, I think thats a major shift that has been observed. But I think the supervisors are not bothered at that as thay also feel that the experts should tackle the problem how small it may be. I think in todays envirnoment people do not want to take chances.
Marif   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:54:56 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@stotheco: That totally depends on the issue they are facing, if the issue had occurred previously and they know how to resolve it in a quick, than they should do it yourself. Otherwise calling a tech for help is a good practice as spending time to resolve the issue which is not known should not be encouraged. Even if the user resolves the issue after doing some research, it may have taken a support person much less time to do the same. What I recommend that people should sit with their support person to try to learn the resolution process of simple issues so that I can help you in future as well.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 7:37:41 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@shehan, well from my understanding what your'e referring to is the typical 'IT helpdesk' which we see in Marts and Small business. Usually the 'geek in glasses'.

That's not how IT should be interpreted. Ofcourse there's always need for someone in support for Internal server overload crisis management, Staff queries, Network issues. This reminds me of the British Show, The IT crowd. 
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 1:43:20 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Shehan, that is indeed true. I have also seen people coming over with issues such as failing to login to their accounts, getting Wi-Fi access and others that are trivial. What I am confused here is why is this such an issue when we live in a computer dominated society all over? These little things should and must be solved within inter-department and with the help of the people around and NOT depending wholly on the IT Help Desk for such trivial matters.
Hayder   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 2:22:30 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Salik that is what I am thinking. I agree that people are now not taking the charge of the situation and stays away from that. They are reluctan now as the IT department is established in the organization and a culture is developed where it is preached that what ever the matter inform the IT department. If any thing goes wrong while you are trying to resolve the matter yourself then you might be blammed for many other problems faced by the IT department. I think it will be this fear that people are reluctant to do even a pity job which is very well in their reach.
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 2:31:29 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Hayder, the reluctance of people dealing with such issues shows the low level of confidence that they have. They should be taught upon joining about the work the company expects them to do rather than relying on others or IT for that matter. Over reluctance on anything makes one susceptible and prone to failures, and a company as well as a person does not want that.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:21:58 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
I think the reason why Brian bayless did not seek In-house IT team's help because he was not confident they could really help him with the situation, Low level of confidence on your own IT department is a very perplexing situation. Who is responsible ?
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:56:55 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Of course Brian is for that matter or maybe the HR who recruited the IT team. Who knows the IT was not that competitive or if it was the lack of confidence in Brian to trust the IT team, what demoralizing that is.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 5:52:51 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Salik, right so HR could have played a better role in all this? that's an interesting point which was previously missing out.

Though i think the second major issue was the lack of 'communication' between Brian's team and the IT  team. We usually discuss our tech related issues and hold ups with other teams mosly on tea or at lunch, unless things get out of hand and we have to disclose to other departments for fresh ideas, but that's just our way of informal communication but it proves to be really helpful everytime.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:47:43 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Salik i think everyone recruited for the job has the basic technical knowledge but somehow still they prefer calling the IT-desk for help, why is that?

Good choice of words ' Computer dominted society' I think everyone being recruited in the company should once pass a Basic Technical Debugging test. Which should include all these trivial questions and basic computer IN's and Out's.

The way i deal with these issues. 
If you can't fix it on your own, ask someone next to you and if they can't help you 'google it' I've noticed that someone else in another region has usually faced the same problems, you always find answers
chris.had   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 5:39:16 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Shamika: Im not sure why you are referring to lack of knowledge in IT. Do you mean to say that there are organizations which does not believe or use It as such ?  If it's about a set of users then it can be acceptable but for a whole organization, I cant think of it.  
eethtworkz   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 12:35:10 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Zaius, While I agree in principle with your sentiments here the relationship between IT and business has evolved considerably in the last 4 years or so, especially since both cloud, byod and apis have caught on in a big way with consumers today. One cant deny that fact and one also cant escape the inevitable consumerization of iT this is what susan is talking about here.IT better adapt fast or risk becoming obsolete here. Funds should not be your only excuse for lack of delivery of services to all consumers.
Joe Stanganelli   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 7:23:56 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
The real problem here as I see it is just making sure one bears in mind that, as IT has an impact throughout the organization, solutions like this can impact IT (and thus have a ripple effect).  One wants to make sure, ideally, that "going around IT" in this sense does not conflict or create redundancies with other IT efforts/goals.
Shamika   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 1:25:21 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Correct. IT is always a support department. They have to work with the business in order to grow the business. I think the knowledge people have in IT is limited hence the business will always require the support from IT and have to depend on them.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 7:24:49 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Shamika,
 IT is always a support department. They have to work with the business in order to grow the business. I think the knowledge people have in IT is limited hence the business will always require the support from IT and have to depend on them.

true but IT is not there for Support alone. Well if that was the case than IT-staff would only have a corner desk and be only replying to your queries.


IT has Bigger Goals to achieve, IT is always in the lead for innovating new ways to easy the 'business process' that's what IT is for. Innovation, innovating solutions for Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR and more. Atleast that's the formula which the Fortune 500 follow, and i always say if the fortune 500 are adopting it, the next companies will take their acts as an example.

As for Their Collaboration with Business. Ofcourse IT and Business go hand in hand.
They are inter dependent and if you look back at all the Established organization who are doing well they follow the same logic. There's no IT without Business and their's definitely no Business without IT.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 7:14:17 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Zaius, Well put, and you have raised an important aspect here.IT is the core of any organization. I read articles about Companies cutting down IT's budgets and raises doubts in my mind for their future existence, of IT? not at all, but of the Organization attempting to cut IT's budget.

  it is difficult to formulate a 'non-IT' route to the solutions of Tech problems. Exactly no one better than the IT staff knows how to solve an IT problem, I think if Bayless  by passed that route to reach out to 3rd parties it should not really be held as an example. It doesn't say bayless involved anyone from Technical management in his decisons, he shoudl've. But this is merely just an opinion. What are your views?
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 1:51:27 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Great Point Qasim. I am with the same opinion that taking Bayless example for reducing the IT's role in the industry is ridiculous. We don't see many examples as such, do we? Moreover, his decisions took over nine months to find a potential solution. Maybe he did save a couple of million bucks, but was it worth the wait so long? Also, thus far IT is the core, without which many would break.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:18:58 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Yes Salik, we don't. Also I don't see Bayless mentioning anything about going to his own IT team for guidance and support on this major issue. Rather he opted to wait and strugglke on his own this is what amazes me the most. Saving a million bucks for Mcafee is pointless, It's the time they have lost which is non-recoverable. Money lost can always be recovered.
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:53:17 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
Moreover Qasim, the decisions taken at once though carry risks but are the most rewarding ones. I see that the money loss incurred into taking a decision of purchase, would have doubled or tripled over the nine months tenure he waited for his struggle to come to frution. However, I do seem to learn one lesson from this that is ones struggle pays off sooner or later. 
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 5:46:55 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Salik, No doubt there. However i still can't take my mind of from the fact that it was IT's job to save the day not 3rd party. 

Every organization opts for 3rd party solutions, but not after almost a year of waiting. If they were having difficulties with managing database it means they were seeing the problem back then was the right time for Brian & IT to make a right decision, initiate in-house development for the solution or search for 3rd party solutions. In the current competitive market its a great loss to wait for almost a year and keep staring at the problem. 
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 3:35:51 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Qasim, the time once gone is lost forever. We need to make the most of it, and to seek the decisions at the time of need is what the situation demands rather than waiting for 3rd Party to help. Internal development is encouraged here, as well as external, but not at the cost of so much time.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 3:44:25 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Salik,precisely. And i hope people from a variety of background agree to this as well. 


adil   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 3:20:03 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Joe: In addition to what you said that will also inject further problems in the process. Nowadays the business users are also having a couple of courses related to IT during their education and from where they get to know a little bit about IT. This education is to understand the technology used in their professional life but few of them try to make decisions on the basis of this knowledge. This results in more business inputs in IT matter which most of the time make the tasks more complex for IT people instead of simplifying it.
Joe Stanganelli   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/11/2013 11:25:25 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
What this really comes down to is that if business users are making major tech decisions and "going around IT," then it is demonstrative of a failure of the IT Department and the CIO to anticipate and adequately answer business needs.

IT, after all, exists for the business -- not the other way around.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 5:40:44 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Joe: Thanks for the thoughtful response. 

This is a really apt analogy: This situation strikes me as little different from owning a toolbox but deciding to hire a contractor anyway.

In some cases, as in the example here for McAfee, it was effective for the finance team to go DIY, and they do stress that they made sure the solution met IT's requirements.

The greatest change in recent years has been the advent of user-friendly solutions that can be purchased and deployed by business users without needing any deep technical knowledge. In one way of looking at it, this is a good thing because IT doesn't get bogged down in small projects. It also creates new channels for solutions to bubble up from the business that may, in fact, have relevance for other departments once IT has exposure to them. Because no other department than IT has the full 360-degree view of the enterprise.
Joe Stanganelli   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/14/2013 1:49:51 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Susan: Then that's the key thing, i'n't it?  Making sure that they ensured IT compliance.  :)  Seems to me that there's no harm and no foul here.

Goodness, if someone at my company offered to make my job easier, I'd be tickled pink.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/20/2013 3:15:50 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@Joe: You would think. In my experience, some folks on both the biz and IT sides of the house get territorial about such things, and when that happens it's less often about compliance or any real issues and more about ego. 

In general, when everyone seems to have the goals of efficiency and cooperation and mutual respect in mind then this user-driven appraoch can work well for the whole company.
Anand   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 3:35:09 PM
Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
This is really appreciative if the employee can solve the technological problem without the help of IT. IT could give some training for the employees for some basic problem solving technique. It will save their times as well as IT department could involve themselves in some research work for improving technology.
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 1:18:27 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
I see it as a positive step. Moreover, as Adil mentioned in his comment about the practising institutes that offer IT subjects to Business Studies students and vice versa, has given a confidence in people to solve much of the problems on their own. Though, I do not fully support the decision because IT finds substantial issues, covers every aspect and supports full time. 
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 7:48:39 PM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT

@Salik, That's an Excellent point, IT students always have to choose from a few basic Business courses, why can't this be made compulsory for Business Students to chose from a few basic IT related courses. In a long run that will help alot once these graduates enter the industry facing real work issues. It's a regular practice in many institutes but it should be introduced in the rest as well.

Though, I do not fully support the decision because IT finds substantial issues, covers every aspect and supports full time. 

I too agree with you here, IT has a real job to do which IT actually does, if it hasn't for Mcafee then that's a failure as a team for IT and the CIO ofcourse. But merely judging the overall role of IT from a single example is not justfied. IT has played a very important role in everything from gadgets to services that have become an essential part of our daily life. 

Not detracking myself from the point but with IN-house IT team present for development and support and still hunting for 3rd party solutions is not very wise. What if in another 18 months Brian Bayless has another Major productivity issue to deal with, would he still refer to 3rd party solutions? that will only demotivate the IT team. The best practice in this case will be to strengthen the inhouse IT team for taking care of all future productivity related issues as in this case and more. That's the right way to handle situations similar to what Brian faced.

Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 2:04:10 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
@Qasim, I worry and I have seen this happening really, that Business Students when taught anything technical or IT related do not really grab the concept OR they are taught at a very basic level OR the students are rather not interested to accept the course over their regular courses. I mean, it is just worrying to see them showing zero interest for what could be later good for them.

The best practice in this case will be to strengthen the inhouse IT team for taking care of all future productivity related issues as in this case and more.


This is exactly what is demanded from the CIOs these days. IT professionals should not only be kept motivated, but they should be given up challenges such so to reduce costs and overcome the need for the 3rd Party solutions or even the thought of it. A company can easily loose good men if the decisions of the CIO aren't well supported for the industry and the overall impact of which are letting the whole companys downfall.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/15/2013 3:41:44 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
@Salik, I think this is also true for IT students taking up elective Business courses. But yes since IT students are technically more sound, they pick up the pace on business courses easily.


Business Students when taught anything technical or IT related do not really grab the concept OR they are taught at a very basic level OR the students are rather not interested to accept the course over their regular courses

I'd say its more on the students than the teaching level. Students are often not interested and yes its really worrying to see them lose interest when it will actually help them progress in the future, everyone should know something about everything, At C-level meetings ofcourse the CMO should know and understand what the CIO is talking about and vice versa.
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 3:28:49 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
@Qasim, thats an excellent point made related to something about everything, some basic education needs to be taught to the students from the upper management regarding the importance of such subjects at the industry level. I can see the revolution coming though, with the industrial practices and acceptance of students with more than one skill (business, technical, peoples), this layman attitude will change. The question is when will the students take this challenge, some do already.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 3:42:23 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
@Salik, That's a very valid point raised, Students realizing that even 'Technical electives' can prove useful once they start to move up in their career. And to support the case i'm talking about Business students. And yes your second point about mastering more than one skill set is valid as well, infact the entire discussion is revolving around this central idea. Last week i was listening to a Radio show @E2, about 'qualities of a CIO' and they were more than just a few, they were alot. You learn more as your progress in your career but it can give u an edge right from the start if you stay motivated and accept the challenge.



Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 3:58:56 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
Moreover, the sooner you accept the challenge, the better it is. The challenges are fruitful in the long run and will reap greater rewards. As you mentioned about the E2 chat and the qualities in a CIO, I believe that there should be qualities at every single level. From Officer to Executive to Managers and then to Director, so on and so forth, every step should possess valid differences in experience, skills and ability to take decisions.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 5:00:15 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
there should be qualities at every single level

Exactly Salik, Everyone from officers to Directors, C-level executive to VP has a solid, effective role to play in the success of their organization. If your'e armed with the skill set to lead, and you have a dignified position in the company that should reflect in your work as well.  Back to brian, i think he missed on the last step. Though the solution he opted has benefit his company's prouctivity or atleast his departments for the time being. But in a long run if his decisions will prefer 3rd party solutions more than initiating in-house development projects that will result in a massive failure in the long run. Though my very best for their team
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 3:47:31 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
Often we see in the description section of advertised jobs that the candidate must be willing to learn new technologies.

I think it should once and for all be changed to ' new technologies and basic working knowledge for smooth flow of  ... '.

[...] can be anything from basic education to mastering higher technological skill set
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/16/2013 4:04:03 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
That is a great observation Qasim. I look to see such changes being implemented.
shehan   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:04:37 AM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
Good point. But will they be capable enough in doing that. Sometimes they are reluctant to re-plug the keyboard cable when it is removed by any chance and they want IT to come and fix it.
Qasim Bajwa   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 7:53:06 PM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
But will they be capable enough in doing that. Sometimes they are reluctant to re-plug the keyboard cable when it is removed by any chance and they want IT to come and fix it.

@Shehan, haha a typical IT crowd episode scenario. And that's what usually I do. because i KNOW they can do it way better than i can, ofcourse i don't ring support services until a major issue has occoured which i can no longer deal with, nor my two colleagues on my left and right. But we NEVER go out and ask a 3rd person to fix it for us. We know our IT team is capable enough to take care of any crisis. They are actually always doing more than what we give them credit for.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 5:57:01 PM
Re: Re : Solving Tech Problems Without IT
@Anand: it's good to hear that this is viewed as a mutual benefit for IT instead of a threat.

With IT resources being stretched so thinly, it makes sense that a project that may have a "soft" ROI could be handled directly by the business, wihtout involving major overhaul and CapEx.

It is consistent with the idea that IT is a partner to the business, which is ultimately better for everyone.
Hammad Masood   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 3:46:26 PM
Surprising
It is surprising for me that what a poor design was being followed by MCAfee previously. You put things in mind while expanding and follow some suitable techniques. Well, a good approach now.
Hospice_Houngbo   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 11:11:39 PM
Re: Surprising
Many companies improve with time as they learn from previous mistakes. The present day MCAfee is certainly no longer what it used to be.
Don K   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/10/2013 11:34:55 PM
Re: Surprising
@Hospice: Yes indeed. You need to learn things from the experience itself not from what you hear from others since things might work differently in different practical sessions. So better try it out with your environment before making decisions. 
geeky   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/11/2013 12:02:58 AM
Re: Surprising
@Masood: Yes that is the point where most of us screw the projects. Designing phase has to be done properly and should be tested in many layers not only once. If that has been done properly the user issues would have been identified easily. 
eethtworkz   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/11/2013 6:57:47 AM
Re: Surprising
Geeky, Its not just in the design phase but also when you go for final implementation,I cant tell u how many projects fail at this stage today. The prime reason is that too many people go in too many different directions today.
Salik   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 1:21:39 AM
Re: Surprising
A counter check is required, some what like a spiral model for the development. It goes by each developmental phase more than once eliminating problems in the previous design, implementation via constant testing. Once done, considerable project might be saved from being a disaster at the root level as well as end level saving millions of dollars for companies.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 6:00:07 PM
Re: Surprising
@Hammad: It is encouraging that they have found a suitable solution.

I am consistently amazed at how many organizations continue to rely on spreadsheets and multiple databases. Based on what I've seen in talking with CIOs and businesss leaders, McAfee's situation is more typical than most companies would care to admit.

What's refreshing is that they recognized the problem and were willing to invest in improving the situation even though it was mostly about "soft" ROI. 

Sometimes in fixing the "soft" issues such as this, a company ends up achieving solid ROI in the process. That is where McAfee's sales organizaiton seems to be heading as new ideas are brought to the forefront as a result of being able to better analyze their sales models.
Pedro Gonzales   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/11/2013 1:31:18 PM
building more relationships.
i think that while users solving their own problem is positive, they should always check with the IT department first. I think what is happening is IT should build closer partnership with the business department and work with them to help them solve them problems, otherwise, as everybody pointed out, the IT department will shrink since people don't need to go to IT for tech issues.
shehan   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:00:23 AM
Re: building more relationships.
I think it is a good approach.  IT should work with the business closely in solving their problems. I think it is best to have a IT help desk in order to solve this problems faced by the users.
Nomi   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 2:42:46 AM
Re: building more relationships.
Pedro I think IT tech solution jobs should be left to professionals only. Even someone is having half the knowledge he might not be knowing other problems that might be associated with the main issue. I am a strong believer that if you have an IT department, any job related to IT should be left to them.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 8:32:15 PM
Re: building more relationships.
@Pedro: hear hear! I also wonder if we're not moving toward a model in which an IT person needs to be "embedded" in every department in a company to help guide and partner on these technology solutions, as well as serve as a liaison with the central IT dept.

The advent of these new, user-friendly business solutions could, conceivably, create whole new opportunitioes for IT professionals as "embedded" business partners.
LuFu   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/11/2013 8:26:36 PM
Time is not on my side

the biggest soft ROI gain is reducing the time that reps spend working with commissions data or order data.

Oh, the hours I've spent generating daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly sales reports probably consumed 20% of my work as a sales peddler - And as any self-respecting sales pro knows, reporting is necessary but it sure seems like it takes away from prospecting and closing sales. Not sure you can eliminate IT or spreadsheets but anything to eleviate the pain and time is welcome.

Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 8:33:59 PM
Re: Time is not on my side
@LuFu: That is for sure. And, ultimately, that improvement in productivity should, at least in theory, have impact on the bottom line. If you're not wasting your valuable time as a sales professional struggling with reporting processes wouldn't you use that time to get out there and sell more? Especially if you're paid on commission?
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 6:02:21 PM
Re: It might
@Rich: ha! 

in all seriousness, it does depend on how the IT organization is structured in the first place. do you think these kinds of tech mplementations rising up from the business side are more likely to happen when IT is in-house, or when it is outsourced?
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/12/2013 8:35:59 PM
Re: Maybe it's only fair
@Rich: Wow, I never knew you were such a proponent of nepotism. 

No worries, you secret is safe with us.

BTW, did I mention that my sister-in-law's daughter is looking for work...?

;)
SunitaT   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/23/2013 12:32:46 AM
Re: IT Department as a tool
The new development is quite fascinating but I don't think it is time yet to tell the IT department to pack up and leave, this reasons as to why they are referred to as professionals is that they rectify where the systems go wrong not developing the system solely. Technology is known to have some percentage of faultiness thus the more reason to have the IT department by your side. You will be surprised that the system can only do too much beyond that it's just another program to stack up in the shelf.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/26/2013 3:45:58 PM
Re: IT Department as a tool
@SunitaT: All excellent points and all too often overlooked when the business side gets enamoured by a new technology.

How do you advise that IT professionals should respond in circumstances where the business side goes out and finds a solution? 
kstaron   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/28/2013 4:20:06 PM
elegant solution
It seems they found an elegant solution. While IT will always be needed, sometimes the people that use the tools are the best ones to figure out how to make them.
Susan Nunziata   Solving Tech Problems Without IT   8/28/2013 10:22:28 PM
Re: elegant solution
@kstaron: in this case, it did indeed have a good result for all involved. Not all users know what they want until they have it, so it can sometimes be a challenge finding the right solution. In this case, the users were very clear on what they needed to accomplish (and what they didn't need) and that kept them very focused.

It's a good lesson, actually, for both business users and the IT side as they evaluate new solutions. 


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