Dan Creswell‘s tweet said it well:
Software development isn't your business: It's just one of many tools for providing a service that satisfies (customer) needs.—
Dan Creswell (@dancres) June 20, 2014
Max Roser‘s tweet, however, illustrated it in unmistakable fashion:
Max Roser (@MaxCRoser) May 08, 2015
Success looks like that.
Not everyone gets to create the kind of magic that lets a blind woman “see” her unborn child. Nearly everyone in IT, however, has the ability to influence customer satisfaction. Development, infrastructure, support, all play a part in making someone’s life better or worse. It’s not just what we produce, but also the process, management and governance that determines how we produce. The product is irrelevant, it’s the service that counts. The woman in the picture above isn’t happy about 3D printing, she’s overjoyed at the experience it enabled.
Customer service isn’t just a concern for software vendors. It’s remarkably easy to destroy a relationship and remarkably hard to repair one. The most important alignment is the alignment of concerns between those providing the service and those consuming it. Mistrust between the two is a common source of “Shadow IT” problems, and far from helping, cracking down may well make things worse.
Building trust by meeting needs creates a virtuous circle. Satisfaction breeds appreciation. Appreciation breeds motivation. Motivation, in turns, yields more satisfaction.
As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.