The Case for 'Craft IT'

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Empathy – Really Caring About Clients

IT providers have a duty to make the client's internal IT organization look heroic. To do this, they have to add value by feeling and thinking like the companies they serve.

This basic human empathy is found in abundance through the craft industries, but it is often missing in IT. Empathy is overshadowed by a 'victim' mindset: "The end user broke another laptop that I have to deal with."

That attitude can't stand. When something is broken, it has an impact on the end user and company. Maybe this salesman has the most important presentation of his career, and without a working laptop, he can't display the slides. Maybe this marketer is orchestrating a whole product launch, and with the file server down, her team can't prepare.

Craft IT empathizes with the end user and thereby finds genuine motivation to solve the problem as quickly as possible. The Craft IT pro cares about the person and cares about the brand.   

There is an unnerving sense that IT is becoming impersonal and indifferent. Given pressure to contain budgets, some CIOs are turning to mass-produced IT services built on offshore labor, mediocre infrastructure and tradeoffs that put cost efficiency over service. But, according to David Corey, general manager, IT Services at ATS, much like mass-produced foods filled with ingredients no one can understand, "junk food" IT can make a company sick and sluggish.

The alternative is to shift the information technology sector toward what Corey calls "Craft" IT. He admits to liberally borrowing this concept from the food and beverage industries, where demand for locally grown, nutritious and environmentally friendly food has transformed American culinary culture. Today, who picks taste-bud-abusing beer when there is a quality alternative? Why eat chemicals out of a wrapper that has traveled 8,500 miles when it's equally convenient to buy local farm-fresh goods?

Not all calories are equal and neither are IT services. In managed IT – and arguably all IT niches built on service to a customer – a craft mentality will lead to more productive and happier end users. Craft IT has three foundations: people, infrastructure and empathy.


Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

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