A business world of techies

All levels of IT practitioners must get involved with the business aspect of the company because their work will impact revenues, directly or indirectly.

Regardless of whether the role of IT practitioners in the organization relates to sales, or is one that is strictly technical in nature, business acumen is a trait all technologists must have.

Yeo Gek Cheng, director for IT and telecommunications at recruitment consultancy Hudson Singapore, said any work done by an IT professional would also have an impact, directly or indirectly, on business revenues. This, Yeo explained, is because technology today influences how businesses are driven.

"It is certainly a criterion employers look for at all levels of IT now."

The higher the job level, the more critical it is for the IT professional to hold such business acumen as the impact a more senior IT member has on business issues is greater. As such, Yeo said it is an essential characteristic required of employees in senior tech positions.

"It's 'very good to have' at mid-level, and 'nice to have' for junior roles," she said.

However, some IT professionals who are passionate only about technology, do not necessarily want to be involved on the business front, she noted. "Sometimes, this leads to a lack of interest or awareness of the business impact [of IT on the organization]", Yeo explained.

"These candidates should be [advised] that every role in the business world has an impact on business, and to value-add beyond just being technically strong in delivering a project, product or sales," she said.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Charles Caldwell, Asia-Pacific human resource director, Citrix Systems, noted that if tech practitioners wanted to move up to senior roles they will need to "[understand] the business case [for IT]. If you can't…you're unable to progress".

According to Caldwell, one of the best ways for an organization to nurture talent is to increase an employee's business acumen.

Hudson's Yeo noted: "Training in this area is often provided at mid-management upward. It will be good to have a nurturing culture where managers coach junior staff on how the business food chain works, and how one's role can impact the business."