Specialise in scenarios rather than platforms

Scenarios or platformsWe IT Pros are comfortable with technology. We can become specialised in one or more applications or platforms. But most people don’t think like that. They think about scenarios and what they are trying to achieve, and less about the tech they are using. What would it take for you to change your focus from being an expert in applications and platforms, to being an expert in scenarios?

Think back about how and why you began a career in IT. You began to use an application, a computer, a network of computers. You like to work things out for yourself, so you probably didn’t read instructions. Maybe you searched for some help in a technical forum on the Internet. Or perhaps your interest pre-dates the Internet. You found a group of like-minded people who were also trying to work out how to use technology. You became pretty good at making information technology work. People around you recognised those abilities and began to come to you for help. That felt good. You enjoy sharing what you know. You may have decided to formalise your skills through study and earning a qualification. You started your first job in IT and things progressed from there.

That is just one common path into an IT career. There a lots of other entry points. When we work in an IT role, we become focused on the task or project at hand. In between those pockets of focus, our time can be taken up by requests for help. Our modus operandi switches to ‘reactive’ as we deal with break/fix situations. We probably won’t be able to escape that part of our role. But we can change how we use our focus time.

Identify your strengths and areas of interest. You might specialise in building, configuring and maintaining email services, a communications technology. Real-time communications and online meetings platforms are often closely linked to email.

Become known as the person to see about setting up and running effective meetings. Expand your skills and experience into activities that occur before, during and after meetings. Help teams and organisations run more effective meetings through better use of the technology they have.

Encourage meeting organisers to add online meeting details to every meeting, and to share the meeting files from a collaborative space in the Cloud rather than attaching them. Model the value of video calls. Build up the practise of taking collaborative notes with other attendees in real time with a shared notebook or document. Use a planning service to capture task assignments and decisions.

When you specialise in a scenario like online meetings, your people will relate to this common activity. They will have a higher success rate adopting a few skills that will improve their meeting participation and deliver.

You don’t need to be an expert in everything. Specialise in one thing. Become proficient in another related technology. But do become an expert in using common business scenarios to help your people achieve more with the technology they have. Learning how to use technology is anchored in scenarios, not in demonstrating a spattering of features.


Cloud-based services are changing the way we work, and the way those services are built, maintained and delivered. Follow along this new blog series as I discuss the ‘Evolution of the IT Pro‘ in the context of Microsoft 365, User Adoption and Change Management.

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