Re: Some really great points!
Overall, you can't argue with msg in this article. Communication and collaboration skils are every bit as important as technical skills. But there is a role for IT to be the voice of reason also.
Here is example I'm dealing with right now at our business unit. Globally, we use a private network of circuits and all internet access connected to business servers/workstations is dictated by policy to use that network. Internet access is funneled thru proxy servers, along with McAfee filtering/antivirus. We have two T1's worth of overall throughput (3Mbs) connected to our hub where proxy sits. The two T1's cost about $900 a month.
Our internet service is horribly slow, especially compared to what we have at home or even over 4G to our smartphones. I bring Time Warner Business Class service in as backup, 7MB of bandwidth for $83 per month. A 200MB file that takes 45 minutes over Corp internet takes less than 5 on Time Warner.
So none of business users, from President on down, can understand why we don't just use Time Warner. Or double our Corp circuit capacity. They don't realize the proxy and McAfee are probably the bottleneck. Put those at back of Time Warner circuit and performance is not likely to be much different.
The business users don't care about security (until they get hammered by ransomware or something), they just want speed. But that doesn't make them right. I'm reluctant to throw anymore money at that circuit when I'm convinced it's likely the proxy or QoS on that circuit which is killing internet browsing/download speed. It be real easy to be accomodating and throw money at that circuit, then when it failed throw up my hands and say "I tried, anything else I can do for you?"
The business expects us to apply our technical expertise in these areas, to watch their backs. Not just be a bunch of likeable people rubberstamping any idea they have. They need us to save them from themselves sometimes. The key is to do it with tact, to be able to communicate your reasons.
One final story. At my first company, when I was right out of school, the company installed a server from IBM. IBM sized the server (this was 1988, when the new AS400 server was $250,000+) but it was way undersized. Interactive response times were sometimes 30 seconds, batch program compiles took an hour. Users were rightfully screaming. The President pulled me aside, really the first conversation I ever had with him directly. He said "Terry, when I look at IT here, I see you and a bunch of really nice guys. What's really going on here?" I told him we were two machine sizes too small, IBM gambled trying to keep cost down to get the sale. We upgraded the two sizes and were back in business.
The point of this story is: You can be perceived as being a nice guy but what the business needs is you know what you are doing technically. Within a couple of years, of the 11 other really nice people I worked with in IT, only 3 of us were the IT department.