I heard someone recently describe the job of an IT department as being responsible for presenting a smorgasbord of solutions to an end user and letting them pick what they want. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I had the opportunity recently to purchase tires for my car. I went in the store and told the man I needed tires and we chatted for a little bit about the way I drive and how I like the car to feel and so on, and then based on our discussion, he recommended what he thought was best.

That’s what IT departments need to be doing. Listening to users, hearing what they need and like, then providing solutions that meet needs. If the tire man had given me several tires to pick from and not given me anything additional to go on, who knows what kind of tires I’d have left with. But he talked with me and he listened and he provided a solution that works. And he’s the professional. It’s a responsibility of mine as a consumer who doesn’t know tires to listen to the professionals. Similarly, maybe people who don’t make their living with technology should hear what their IT folks are saying when they share solutions.