The functional perspective of sociology says that each part of society contributes to the stability and operation of society as a whole. The organization where you work is much the same. Each department contributes to the success or otherwise of the entire organization. Within an organization, you could find a sales and marketing department, an accounting and finance department, a research department, a production and manufacturing department, an IT department, and so on. The research department, for example, might develop new products or services thus ensuring the future viability of the organization, the sales and marketing department would build and maintain relationships with customers and promote the organization’s goods and services, the accounting and finance department would ensure that the organization has enough cash to operate and collects and pays bills in a timely manner, production and manufacturing produces the goods and supporting products which the organization provides to its customers, and the IT department facillitates communication and collaboration between the various departments.

IT Does Not Work in Isolation

Sometimes, people get caught in the trap of seeing themselves or their departments as isolated from the rest of the organization or seeing other departments as troublemakers. Both points-of-view can be very dangerous, not only to the health of the organization, but also to the careers of the individuals who think that way.

We Facilitate Communication and Collaboration

Our jobs, in IT, are to find ways to facilitate communication and collaboration within the organization’s various departments. For that reason, it’s important that we become familiar not only with the technical systems at work, but also the various business processes. We must understand the business reasons behind the various operations we support. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we have to get degrees in business to fully understand the operations in, say, finance and accounting. It does mean that we invest time and effort in understanding some of the basics of each department we support. We can use our empathy skills to put ourselves in the position of, say, a researcher who needs to share data across the Internet or an administrative assistant who needs to print a report for a manager. We can try to imagine the frustration of a sales person in the field who needs to be able to access product specifications or competitive information on a tablet through a spotty connection.

It’s a Matter of Understanding Our Role

As in the functional theory of sociology, each department contributes to the overall performance of the organization as a whole. When we, in IT, work to understand the business processes of the organization and the business needs of our brothers and sisters within the organization, we can raise the overall performance of the organization, improve our relationships with our colleagues, and feel a great sense of accomplishment in how we are able to deliver creative technical solutions to perplexing human problems in our workplace.

For More Ideas on How to Improve Communication and Customer Service Skills

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