Getting everyone on the same page is hard – especially when shifting to a new way of working. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how IT teams can incorporate LoB needs for a smoother hybrid work transition.
By Gillian Arthur, Consultant and Strategic Writer, Mainstay
IT and Lines of Business can’t afford to operate autonomously anymore – not like they did prior to 2016. Six years ago, the IT and lines of business relationship looked drastically different. At the beginning of their beautiful friendship, IT and Lines of Business functions were on the path to synchronicity. Fast forward to today and the IT & LoB relationship is more critical than ever before. Yet finding ways to incorporate lines of business needs and requirements to the new Hybrid Work Model is a challenge that continues to keep business leaders up at night.
Creating the alignment necessary for hybrid work success
Prior to 2016 IT and LoB didn’t exactly have much to do with each other. But according to Oracle, as IT leaders began having a “deeper understanding of business strategy,” the need for organizations to “marry business and IT functions,” became increasingly important.
Despite efforts to incorporate the two over the years, IT and lines of business aren’t as connected as they could (or even should) be. When you add in the potential chaos and confusion of a change process like hybrid work, things get even messier. You might recall in our previous blog posts that many employees feel insufficiently prepared to fully embrace hybrid work expectations, resulting in push back to the overall process. So, how do you get lines of business management or IT to participate in change process when either or both parties are unwilling? More importantly, how do you make these parties care about helping each other? How can each party meet where the other is at? If you do this right, you can delight end-users, but if you don’t, you can have mutiny.
The biggest issue is that IT and lines of business deal with change independently. This isn’t so much a problem as it is a contributing factor to the problem. When two parties deal with change in their own way, it’s hard to see or even understand how the other operates amidst said change. In the case of IT and lines of business, technological change – especially shifting to the Hybrid Work Model – isn’t always embraced by both IT and LoB. Most often it’s only embraced by one party: IT.
Working in IT, these professionals already have a fundamental knowledge/understanding of computers, specifically in software, data and the processes behind storage, retrieval, support, etc. — something most LoB team members aren’t as well versed in. Because of this, LoBs like HR, legal, sales, etc., tend to feel more disquieted about technology, let alone new processes. Shifting to hybrid work on the LoB side, is most often met with apprehension, not exactly acceptance.
Here lies the disconnect.
Mending the Gap between Lines of Business and IT
The first step toward creating IT LoB synchronicity is creating desire – the incentive – the why. Establishing the why before the how will get LoB to understand the importance of change before the “how we get there” is discussed. Think of it like this:
Say you live in the city and don’t own a car. You don’t own one not because you can’t afford to, but because you don’t need one. Everything is either within walking distance or you rely on public transportation to get around. If someone came up to you, told you, “You need to buy a car,” your first reaction might be, “why would I buy a car? I have everything I need without one.” What incentive do you have to buy a car when your life is perfectly fine the way it is?
For LoB, why is changing to hybrid important? Is it to save money? Is it to build better relationships? Not establishing the why is one of the three biggest reasons projects stall (outside executives not supporting the change and not getting people involved early enough in change).
Incorporating LoB needs and requirements to the new Hybrid Work Model won’t come with a simple knowledge transfer. Outlining how the change process will happen step by step isn’t enough for people to be convinced of the change. Why is the change important and why must LoB follow the change? Once these questions are answered, and these behavioral differences are understood, IT and LoB will function much more easily and business professionals can once again, sleep soundly.
If you haven’t caught on yet, this is where Mainstay can help. If your HR team is interested in more solutions to change and communicate to the people-side of your organization, we’ve got you covered. At Mainstay, our Prosci-certified change management professionals are uniquely qualified to help address post-pandemic changes in workplaces. We can identify a change management solution to fit your company’s new initiatives and policies—we might even find a solution to an issue you didn’t know you had! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.