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Tech Pros

5 Reasons Tech Professionals Need Business Knowledge

By DeVry University


Technology professionals have a language all their own. When it comes to working in the business world, it’s important to shed the tech jargon and understand the basics of business.

When IT professionals sit in on meetings or present to senior business leaders, the two groups have to speak a common language to help foster collaboration on critical business needs like return on investment, productivity, profitability and business continuity.

Sagi Gidali, co-founder of the cybersecurity SaaS startup, SaferVPN, explores five benefits of speaking the language of business for tech pros.

1.    DRIVE BUSINESS INNOVATION
The most valuable technology professionals understand what businesses want to achieve and how technology can help meet those goals. By understanding the ultimate objective, IT specialists can use technology to reduce complexity for the organization while enabling better business decisions within IT.

Combining business and technology mindsets “helped us think outside the box,” Gidali says. That creative mindset helped his company solve the challenge of providing safe, anonymous Internet access to dissidents and others in countries including China, Uganda and Venezuela, where the government censors Internet communications. The service, called #UnblockTheWeb, was developed with the non-governmental organization (NGO) Movements.org and has become a showcase for the company’s philosophy and technical capabilities.

That privacy means users, even in free societies like the U.S., can avoid being tracked by advertisers, Internet service providers, search engines and others that may track and sell their data.


2.    COMMUNICATE CLEARLY WITH BUSINESS EXECUTIVES
Explaining how a piece of technology works by citing its technical specifications is largely irrelevant when talking with business leaders. They’re more interested in what the technology lets them do, and how those new capabilities affect profitability, market share and productivity.

Consequently, Gidali says, “We communicate using business terms and key performance indicators (KPIs) rather than tech terms or specifications. With potential business partners, we present without tech jargon.”

 

3.    JUSTIFY IT EXPENDITURES
Spending on IT can have huge returns in the form of increased business as well as cost savings and productivity gains. To achieve those benefits, however, IT specialists must think in terms of return on investment and both direct and indirect benefits – concepts business leaders understand.

 

4.    DESIGN BETTER PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Understanding the business helps IT professionals deliver what their customers really want, improving their solutions and enhancing their reputations.

Externally, Gidali says, “We’ve conducted a full competitor analysis and extensive market research to support our decisions. Results were much more business-oriented than technical, and greatly helped us improve our design as well as adjust it to the right buyer personas.”

 

5.    INFLUENCE BUSINESS DECISIONS
IT, increasingly, is a strategic asset – but only if IT professionals think beyond their own core competencies to consider the overall business opportunities of new and existing technologies, including analytics and social media that can grow new markets, improve services and enhance business growth.

To improve its own sales and marketing efforts, SaferVPN built a dashboard that details each customer’s lifetime value, cost of acquisition, churn rate, ratio of interest to product purchases and the return on investment for each sales channel. With this information at their fingertips, SaferVPN managers can better evaluate the costs of expanding markets or altering sales channels.

Increasingly, IT professionals need both technology and business skills to remain competitive and to add value to their organization.

DeVry University offers a range of career-focused degree programs, including Computer Information Systems and Business Administration, taught by supportive faculty with real-world experience. At DeVry, you can build your schedule to fit your life with classes offered in eight-week academic sessions year round on campus, online, or in one of our innovative extended classrooms.*

DeVry University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org. To learn more, visit devry.edu.

*Program, course and connected classroom availability varies by location.