IT has come a long way from its early days, when it was primarily technology for corporate bean counting, but the mind set and the language of the industry appears to be stuck in the 70s.
Ironically, it is technology, the product of the industry, that has been instrumental in changing the way that we live and work. Yet, IT continues to fail to connect and appeal to digital natives, the generation whose lives technology has helped change so much - the children who have grown up with the ever connected Internet at their fingertips.
We now live in an era of IT that I call ‘Humanised’. This presents us with an excellent opportunity to redefine IT, its vocabulary and image, in order to become more relevant to digital natives, including young women who are making their career choices in schools across the country today.
‘Humanised IT’ has technology that has crossed over from the consumer world into the corporate world, such as, social media, but it has more humanised interfaces such as chat, video and holographic presence. Humanised IT is also about making corporate technology as appealing to users as the consumer apps that they use on their mobiles and tablets. The user experience is king in humanised IT and has to be as good as popular games and other consumer software.
Designing an excellent experience for a software application requires a mindset that rates the creative and visual part of application design as highly as the technology and the logic of the software. Managers with this mindset would bring creative and visual design talent together with good programming logic and problem solving skills to create outstanding product functionality to gain significant competitive differentiation. This is a change from being mostly technology-led to experience-focused, experience that also addresses business needs.
The new mindset would have managers no longer thinking “I am developing the next version of the xyz enterprise software” but “I am going to produce the best ever multi-media work experience”. This would mean extending the types of jobs that are on offer within the industry with new roles and job titles, such as creative directors and gamification specialists.
With a fresh mind-set, a new vocabulary and jobs that span the creative and the logical spectrum, IT should become much more relevant to the next generation of workers, including women who might be put off by the current inaccessible jargon that we are all too familiar with.
Sarah Burnett is a highly regarded IT services and BPO sourcing expert with a deep understanding of both the demand and supply side of the market. In her capacity as research vice president at Everest Group, Sarah advises clients on market trends and developments and their commercial significance.
Sarah has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, often in charge of implementation and service delivery, either directly for organisations, or on their behalf as an outsourcing services provider. Her roles and responsibilities have included e-Government program management in the public sector, e-procurement services and application outsourcing in financial services and telecoms sectors.
Sarah is deputy chair of BCSWomen and also represents the group on Tech UK Women in Tech Council.