I am a CFO, a Smart Guy/Girl; Why Can’t I Understand the Language my IT Staff is Speaking?
Not for nothing, but your IT gurus equally do not understand when you discuss ROI, EBITDA or SG&A. Specific job functions each have their own lingo, but there are 3 primary reasons that even smart people who are not technologists get lost in a conversation with one within seconds… aka “you lost me at hello.”
1. Telecom/IT is Very Acronym-Driven
First is that Telecom/IT is arguably the single most acronym-driven profession on the planet, beating out even our government and military branches! Worse yet, unless you are very techno-savvy the words making up the acronyms are meaningless. We can all understand that FBI=Federal Bureau of Investigation and even infer what they do, but knowing that MPLS means Multiprotocol Label Switching only evokes blank stares or prompts the question “Multi-WHAT?” It is very understandable that in a landscape littered with hundreds of similar examples, it feels and sounds like trying to read a roadmap printed in a foreign language.
2. Telecom is Constantly Evolving
Secondly, technology and telecom are in a constant evolution that is progressing at warp speed. This means that as soon as you can begin to wrap your brain around the differences between DSL and DS3, those solutions are yesterday’s news. A great example of this that’s coming your way at the speed of light (faster, actually) is all the new lingo associated with “Cloud” and “X as a service” (or XaaS, with X being a variable). Most of us know that SaaS is Software as a Service but in the days ahead you will be besieged with other Xs, such as I (infrastructure), DR (Disaster Recovery), D (desktop), UC (Unified Communications), and on and on.
3. Telecom is Confusing and Difficult to Understand
The third main reason is a bit more sinister: you are not a member of the fraternity and the less you know, the more likely you are to fund budget requests that are presented as “mission critical” and are often cloaked with dire consequences if they “are not implemented immediately.” If you do not understand what’s being presented, you certainly cannot question it fully. If you question budget over-runs and the answers are in a language in which you are simply not fluent, the real reasons remain shrouded behind smoke and mirrors. Since you do not know the secret handshake and the password, you cannot enter into the place where everything is understandable to you.
Fear not, as there are a few ways to bridge the gap and even gain an upper, or at least equal, hand. That will be the topic of next week’s blog post.