NEWS RELEASE 5.19.2009


IT workers must learn new lingo: business speak

by Carrie Mason-Draffen


High-tech workers, more familiar with Java, html and other computer languages, now find they have to master another one to weather the Great Recession: business speak.

With the specter of outsourcing ever looming, the pressure is on for information-technology professionals to explain how their work helps the bottomline.

“During these times we have to show the organization that we’re not a cost center,” Linda Chan, senior IT director for Veeco Instruments in Plainview, told a luncheon group at the Melville Marriott today. “We’re a business enabler.”

Chan was part of a panel of five chief information officers that bandied about words like bottomline, return on investment and consolidation. The meeting, hosted by the local chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, focused on IT’s mission in the down economy.

Understanding the business lingo is key, the panelists said.
“If you can put it in their language ... you’ll get what you want,” said Gary Quinn, Suffolk County’s commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and a former manager at the software maker CA Inc. in Islandia.

When Chan wanted to enhance Veeco’s technology network with virtual servers, which allow for more computer sharing, she showed how she could tie her idea with another project and save the company money. The financials were key to getting approval.
“I definitely had to show the ROI \[return on investment\],” she said.

The age of outsourcing and other IT cutbacks calls for more of that, said Stephen Jamieson, head of information technology for OSI Pharmaceuticals in Melville.

“With the threat of outsourcing, you always have to market what you do,” he said.

Companies stand to win when computer professionals focus on the bottomline, said Barbara Viola, the local chapter’s president.
“It can save businesses a lot of money,” she said.