Delivering Benefit

Brian Sutton & Robina Chatham

Published by
ISBN 9781780173986
RRP £9.99
Reviewed by A P Sutcliffe MSc, CCI, MBCS

9 out of 10

This book is another in the BCS series of “Technical Leadership Capabilities”. As in all of these, the book makes use of a highly effective structure, a mix of primary text, side notes and case studies, in a manner that helps the reader quickly assimilate key information. Although it is undoubtedly intended for those that find themselves in a management position for the first time, it has clear and useful points that would be of value to those veteran leaders, working in a supervisory, or even a senior management role.

There are certain key points that are the focus of the authors’ attention; and the first of these is the thought that IT staff should primarily focus on providing a high level of customer service to the business and end users. It explains the rationale for this and offers justification for the concept, as well as advice on how to approach this in a way that might provide the best outcome. However, it makes a point that might be seen as somewhat controversial, in that they suggest IT staff should take a more active control of the conversation when engaging with end users.

Similarly, the authors also propose that it’s necessary for IT leaders to become more effective, by learning how to recognise trends, and encompass other parts of the organisation, rather than maintaining a mentality of isolation. They argue that by improving their awareness and understanding of the organisation’s activities, the savvy IT manager can better anticipate events, and recognise opportunities for IT to help drive the business forward.

A key part of any modern organisation is the search for innovation; and the text highlights many examples of what format this might take. However, the writers also argue that it is essential for the good IT leader to help people overcome their natural reticence, and promote a culture of collaboration, as a foundation for a culture that rewards new ideas and adds value to the business.

However, the key message is that these things only occur if the IT leader is someone that can assist in actually making things happen. In addition, it is noted that there are significant issues in helping people engage with the challenges, often caused by their fears of how change might adversely affect their working lives; and that providing the appropriate leadership for the specific individual is essential to turning the situation around.

Overall, this is a highly valuable resource based upon sound management principles, with comprehensive and pertinent explanations. This is a valuable addition to the series, and will offer great advice for those at all levels of leadership within the technology sector.

Further information: BCS

December 2017