What are the benefits of having technical skills in functions outside of IT?

2k views2 Upvotes6 Comments

VP - Head of Information Technology in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
One company I worked at happened to have a deputy general counsel who is very technical. It was super interesting, and handling vendor contracts is one of my favorite things that I've seen him do. I once had a vendor call me when we were trying to buy their product. They said, "Your counsel is asking us to change the definitions in our contract. There's no way we're going to do that." So we got on another call with them and their head of law, and our counsel said, "You didn't read any of my edits, did you?" They eventually admitted that they didn't. Our counsel then proceeded to explain why accepting their MSA would put us in violation of all of our contracts. He also pointed out that it's pretty common and, given GDPR and CCPA, it’s likely that all of their customers are in violation. They had begun their argument by saying, "We have Fortune 100 customers that have signed with no red lines" but our counsel proved that they were totally wrong. So I think there's a demand for technical lawyers now.
Chief Information Officer in Manufacturing, 10,001+ employees
People outside of IT who have technical skills within functional areas become that liaison between IT and their specific areas. We call the FunkyTecs. 
VP of IT in Media, 201 - 500 employees
When staff outside of IT have some technical skill, it helps IT to troubleshoot issues faster as other staff are able communicate the issue clearly enabling lesser TATs during issue resolution...
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
It can help to automate some of their departmental functions or transform how they function/work with implementing new softwares and technologies. If a person is technical its easier to connect the business requirements to technical requirements and will have better success working with internal IT/ outsourced IT resources in implementing technical solutions for his department/team
VP of IT in Media, 10,001+ employees
Bridges gaps in understanding and provided insights that both business and tech people don’t have
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
If used properly, and in conjunction with IT standards and practices, this could be seen as beneficial staff augmentation instead of shadow IT.

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One thing I do is include them in the meetings about the changes that will take place and get their opinion.  I also lay out the pros and cons of the changes and how it will effect us as a team moving forward.

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