Pressure mounts on IT to get creative

Faced with pressure from management for IT to align with commercial objectives, technology managers increasingly find themselves torn between delivering lower costs for services and the creative IT solutions that boost business value.

Added to the challenge for IT managers is keeping their IT staff focused on the bottom line and while coming up with solutions that keeps an internal IT shop relevant to its enterprise?

For Sony information systems project manager Maria Scipioni, a clear distinction exists between creative staff and those who are less dynamic within an IT shop.

"Both love IT - and as a project manager you need to find a creative way of engaging both types; our HR department even runs courses in thinking outside the box," Scipioni said

"If you take a purely scientific approach to software development, you do not get the [best] end result for the user; ideally you are not here to satisfy your own technical curiosity by developing complicated programs if [the solution] is not easy for people to use."

Similarly, Perpetual Trustees technology solutions general manager Amanda Hagan said what really drives creativity in an IT shop is enthusiasm over and above clinical or scientific approach.

"You need to offer a scientific approach to IT, but the creative people give better solutions. A creative person can span the back office in areas like marketing and advertising," Hagan said.

"People that can talk to business will get ahead as they are able to communicate with key stakeholders, from the programmer level to everyone else, and this ability comes from the creative side rather than technical skills.

"You need to be able to explain to the business side the value of IT, to simplify it and communicate. There is nothing more annoying than someone off in 'techno-world' as the lack of communication skills breeds mistrust," Hagan said.

IDC software research director Tim Sheedy says decreasing software tailoring requirements are eroding the creativity needed to develop products in-house.

One of the issues stifling in-house creativity, he said is that there is there is more off-the-shelf software now, whereas 10 years ago there may have been just one proprietary solution, there are now multiple solutions created for niche markets.

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