What Is The REAL Question?

August 14, 2008

The overall direction of this blog is Business Technology advice for non-technology managers in the small business / medium business space. This post will be geared a little more towards the senior technologist in the SMB space.

However, if you are a non-technology manager, I hope you are getting asked the question below.

The Initial Question

I was forwarded an email from one of the senior managers at a large (and large business) customer of ours. The email itself was a fairly simple question regarding technology assets and infrastructure.

The text of the email implied the question was as simple as “Should we paint this room blue or brown” (bad analogy, but you get my point!)

I could have had an answer in minutes.

As our senior Business Technology Manager, if I had just answered that question – I would have been remiss.

What is the REAL question?

What was not said in that question, but what could be implied was much deeper.

Like many businesses, this company is suffering from our current economic malaise, and our unusually high Canadian Dollar. And this question was from a senior manager involved more in finance than technology.

The question was also looking at low level IT infrastructure time lines, services, and costs.

The implied question (using my bad analogy) was closer to to “Do we lift the house and rebuild the foundation, or do we level it to the ground and start from scratch?”

This implied question would be much harder to answer.

My responsibility is to query that Initial question.

My responsibility is to ensure that (if necessary) we initiate a discussion on the strategic goals and requirements that are driving the “initial” question.

My responsibility is then to ensure that I answer that question accurately within the context of their strategic objectives.

As a non-technology Business Manager, are you getting these questions asked?


2 Responses to “What Is The REAL Question?”

  1. elliotross Says:

    Thanks for dropping by !

    As to why, I have spent many years assisting small businesses with technology – not only the ones I work for, but consulting with SMB organizations in improving their IT

    So after many years of complaining about it – I decided it was time to put up or shut up!


  2. Ron Towns Says:

    Hey thanks for the awesome information. I’ve been checking out your blog for a ouple weeks now and I learn something new every time. What was your inspiration to start up your blog? You might want to check out these free excerpts from New York Times bestselling business growth book “The Answer” … http://www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2

    Also, check out this cool entrepreneurship blog… http://www.gothamtechminute.blogspot.com

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