In the past, if you were in IT, you were that geek with a tool belt that loved spending weekends taking their IBM computer apart and putting it back together. The IT Geek also had their own "data center" in their garage, complete with a couple of networks, a SQL Server and a couple of Weblogic servers.
Something happened to Information Technology around 5-10 years ago that became a commonplace for startups as well as established Fortune 500 companies. IT departments became service departments, technology solved business problems and IT professionals became cool. Cloud Computing was the norm, not a buzz work, organizations took ITIL seriously to help streamline business and technology processes. Servers were now called Services.
I have been in IT for over 25 years now and have adapted to the changing dynamics to my profession. In addition to my IT career, I have tapped into social media/internet marketing, entrepreneurship and business networking. I went from IT Geek to a extroverted business professional and have no problem talking to people. I am not your typical IT professional.
I started looking at my IT team as a "company" that provided technology services to my customers (other departments at my company). Called it DeSocio Technology Services.
I mentored my team to take the sales approach to solving technology issues. A customer makes a request, the technician makes the initial call to acknowledge that they received the request, the technician assesses the issue and implements a solution. For the next step, the technician would follow-up with the customer and assure that all questions and details are accounted for and then document the outcome of the request. The team would continue to follow-up with their customers on a regular basis to build a working relationship, understand the business and be more proactive to technology needs. A customer survey would be forwarded to the requester who would provide honest feedback about the IT Service that was provided.
Sounds like a sales approach, huh? Well, it is. The changing dynamic is that IT Professionals are constantly selling their services and knowledge but also have to have the personal approach in supporting their customers. If they don't, they will be replaced.
Running an IT Organization is Like Running a Business. I know since I do both. If your IT group doesn't perform up to expectations, your group will be out of business and/or replaced. That is a fact.
So if you are in IT, get out of your basement, put the Dell Server aside, go to a networking event and become an extrovert. It will take your career to the next level and you will understand why a sales approach is important in today's IT business world.