This article is part of a series highlighting key takeaways from my recently published book, Truth from the Trenches, A Practical Guide to the Art of IT Management. As a seven-time CIO I\u2019ve had an opportunity to observe the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of IT management up close and personal. Truth from the Trenches is my attempt to share my experiences with emerging IT leaders to help them avoid the chronic problems that afflict so many IT organizations.\nEvery leader of a large IT organization manages two very different types of business. And each business serves a very different clientele and each has its own unique set of success metrics.\nOn the one hand, IT serves as the technical quartermaster of the enterprise, provisioning employees and contractors with the software tools, hardware devices and support services they need to perform their jobs. This is a transactional business in which the hearts and minds ofindividual employees are won or lost one at a time.\nOn the other hand, IT runs a technology consulting\/systems integration (SI) business within the enterprise, \u00a0playing a critical role in planning and executing major business initiatives that are enabled through the creative use of information technology. The target clientele for IT\u2019s consulting and SI business is a company\u2019s senior executive team who will ultimately provide the funding and sponsorship for major technology initiatives.\nWhat does success (or failure) look like?\nIT leaders sometimes become so preoccupied with managing big-ticket, high visibility projects that they fail to focus on the \u201chearts and minds\u201d battle that is being fought every day in new employee orientation sessions and calls to the IT service desk. While some level of dissatisfaction with IT\u2019s competence or responsiveness is readily tolerated by senior business execs, chronic complaints about IT\u2019s ability to provision new employees, respond to employee requests or resolve employee issues will inevitably undermine the credibility of the IT group \u2013 irrespective of their success in managing large projects. The key success metrics in this transactional business are technical competence and emotional empathy. An arrogant service desk staff will generate too much collateral political damage \u2013 even if they are incredibly competent. Conversely, no amount of personal empathy can save a service desk team that is basically incapable of solving employee problems.\nSuccess metrics for IT\u2019s consulting\/SI business are somewhat more straightforward. IT has to demonstrate that it can consistently deliver major projects on time, within scope, and on budget. And it ultimately has to demonstrate these capabilities to the executive leadership of the company. Most employees are blissfully ignorant of the trials and tribulations that accompany major IT projects (unless they are project team members!). Failure to achieve anticipated results or meet major milestones or operate within agreed upon budgets is painfully obvious to a company\u2019s business executives, but may not be apparent to the majority of the company\u2019s employees. Major project failures have a way of creating lingering memories that will subvert IT\u2019s ability to lead future technology initiatives. In fact, they may compel a company\u2019s business execs to procure consulting and implementation services from an external SI in the future.\nThe influence of 'super users'\nThe success or failure of IT\u2019s consulting business hinges to a large degree on the relationships that IT develops with \u201csuper users\u201d in individual functional areas. Super users frequently sit in operations teams that are embedded in individual functional departments, such as sales and finance. They typically know more about the capabilities of the applications and tools employed within their department than anyone else. Consequently, they play an important liaison role between IT and its business partners, interpreting business needs for IT and explaining IT capabilities to their colleagues.\nThe principal points of contact for functional super users are IT\u2019s business systems analysts (BSAs). The success of IT\u2019s consulting business depends directly upon the relationships that BSAs form with their functional counterparts. Effective super users recognize the limitations of their personal experience and operate as facilitators or gate-keepers. They educate BSAs about the internal business practices within their function; they recruit their business colleagues to assist in prioritizing IT requests and formulating IT initiatives; and they form a partnership with their BSA counterparts and increase their mutual value to the company.\nUnfortunately, some super users view themselves as the \u201csingle source of truth\u201d regarding the technology opportunities within their function. They are not interested in involving colleagues in prioritizing requests or planning initiatives since they believe they are fully capable of performing such tasks on their own. They may also believe they have sufficient technical knowledge to function as solution architects and will not only tell IT what to do but how to do it. Dictatorial super users expect the IT organization to comply with their requests and follow their direction with minimal discussion or debate.\nRevenge of the business systems analysts\nThe ubiquitous adoption of SaaS applications has subtly, but quite fundamentally changed the balance of power in the super user\/BSA relationship. Super users still possess business knowledge that a BSA can never duplicate and they play an important role in enabling access to their functional colleagues. However, in a SaaS-first world business applications tend to get used as is, with minimal customization. In a SaaS-dominated environment, functional groups spend more time adapting their business processes to the capabilities of SaaS tools than vice versa. A BSA\u2019s knowledge of SaaS capabilities plays a critical role in configuring SaaS tools in ways that optimize the efficiency of functional business processes under these circumstances.\nBSAs have been relegated to second-class citizen status in too many IT organizations for far too longer. They\u2019ve habitually deferred to the desires of their super user counterparts and been treated as mere order takers by their IT colleagues. With the appropriate training in process re-engineering techniques and SaaS application workflows, BSA can exert considerably more influence within their client groups and materially enhance the impact of the overall IT organization. It would be criminal not to provide the training they need to assume broader, more impactful roles in a SaaS-dominated world!