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Should IT be treated like just another hygiene factor?

Hygiene factors are issues like status, job security, salary, benefits, working conditions, good pay, paid insurance, vacation, etc. In short, all the aspects of the job that do not directly produce positive satisfaction or lead to increased motivation, but the absence  of which results in dissatisfaction. The term "hygiene" is used in the sense that they are maintenance factors. They are extrinsic to the job itself and include such things as company policies, supervisory practices or wages. Herzberg often referred to hygiene factors as "KITA" factors, which is an acronym for "kick in the ass," the process of providing incentives or threat of punishment to get someone to do something.

Most companies treat IT as a hygiene factor. Nobody is happy with the ERP system or CRM system, but companies buy an off-the-shelf solution to achieve proper business administration. The opposite of a hygiene factor is a motivator. For IT, the first question is: can we make IT a motivator? Well, yes, but it is not easy.

A motivator for the personnel who execute the work is quite different to a motivator for the C-level. Where personnel look at ease of work and satisfaction in their daily operations, concepts like gamifications can be implemented. C-Level is more motivated by the profits and expansion the company realizes. The second question that results from the first, and the fact that motivators for C-Level are based on profit, is: can you make IT a profit centre? Well, yes, but very few companies realize that their business knowledge, when digitized, is worth money. But look at Uber. It was just a taxi company that realized that by putting the administrative process in a digital experience, an app, anybody in the world could become a taxi driver.

The realization in C-Level that companies can move from "IT is not our core business" to "IT is a fundamental part of our profit centre" is what we call digital transformation. Unfortunately, a lot of C-Level people are still very much IT illiterate.

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