Even 15 years later, it still tickles me when people see our name spelled out and they smile in amusement and say, “That’s a great name! How did you come up with that?”. Over the years, it’s also been interesting to see how people try to spell our name when we tell it to them verbally. The most common spellings are “enterprise technologies” or “interprise technologies”. So why go through all the headache of the odd spelling? From the beginning and well through today, I really think that our name best represents our core expertise: bringing technology and knowledge to synergize your intraprise. Yes, our slogan and not some catch phrase or buzzword, it is exactly what we provide and do.
What is an intraprise?
The word intraprise is a contraction of two other elements:
the prefix “intra” – meaning “on the inside or within” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/intra-); and
the word “enterprise” – meaning “a unit of economic organization or activity; especially: a business organization” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enterprise).
So intraprise means “within a unit of economic organization or activity”—or in short “within a business organization”. Even though it’s harder to say, I do prefer using the term “unit of economic organization or activity” because when working with larger clients, we may not be working with their organization as a whole, but rather a single department; sometimes we work with just one activity that a department conducts. We also do work with nonprofits and some government entities, who are often adverse to the term “business”. But a nonprofit and government agency is definitely a “unit of economic organization”, so that broader definition is more appropriate for intraprise since it is applicable to all types of organizations—businesses, nonprofits, and governmental entities.
The use of “intra” also forces a focus on the “inside” of an organization; this was one of the specific reasons for using the word “intraprise” instead of “enterprise” for our name because we focus on the business processes, supporting technologies, flow of information, and human capital within an organization. These elements are generally managed by the accounting, information technology (IT), and human resource functions within an organization, and these are the three functions that we normally partner with to unleash the synergy within our clients. (See diagram to below.)
Diagram: Cross-functional view of the intraprise.
If you look back to the origins of the word “technology” it actually means “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/technology). But in today’s world we use it to refer to the actual device or software that represents the manifestation of knowledge in practice. So we wanted to emphasize that unlike system integrators or value added resellers (VARs), we are not just about the technology, but also about the knowledge required to derive value from technology. This knowledge comes in several forms:
knowledge of which technology is appropriate for a given situation (i.e. technology or vendor selection),
knowledge of how to put the technology into operation (i.e. system implementation), and
knowledge of how to use that technology and ensure adoption by teams (i.e. user adoption and training).
What may not be obvious from the above paragraph is that there are elements of all three intraprise disciplines required to drive success. The IT discipline is focused on the technology itself and its compatibility with the rest of the organization’s IT environment. The information assurance aspects of the accounting discipline guides the accuracy, completeness, and integrity of data. The risk and internal controls aspect of the accounting discipline guides the shaping of the business processes that the technology is supporting. And last but not least, the human resources discipline guides the user training and overall organizational competency aspects of implementing or changing technologies. Thus all three foundational elements of the intraprise are essential to create synergy through technology and knowledge.
What is the role of Organizational Development in the intraprise?
As a CPA firm, people often think that we are focused on accounting (i.e. the finance function). Then I tell them that we are a CPA firm that specializes in information technology, which then shifts them to think that we’re IT consultants (i.e. the IT function), which to most people means the network, servers, and software. So I have to correct them and explain that while we can do the IT infrastructure-related work, our real value is in IT governance, IT risk management, and business innovation to leverage technology.
But if you’ve been paying attention to the earlier part of this article, you’d realize that the above only includes the accounting and IT elements of the intraprise. So the last part is the human resources (HR) element, and that is in our core service of organizational development. According to Swanson (2008), organizational development (OD) is focused on unleashing human expertise to improve the organization’s performance; whereas Training & Development (T&D) is focused on developing human expertise to improve a person’s performance. Both are HR functions and both are needed to develop an organization that has high performance at the individual, group, process, and system levels.
Organizational development is often the domain of management consultants or included as part of the HR function. The issue is that most management consultants, especially those from large consulting firms, have a very broad background (e.g. MBA) and don’t have depth of experience in the actual management and operation of a successful organization. Many HR departments are also overly people-focused and unless they have strong OD practitioners who truly take a holistic view of the organization and its needs, you may end up with a training solution that will transfer knowledge and skills to a person, but not align their behaviors or the design of the process with the organization’s strategic vision.
IntrapriseTechKnowlogies in Summary
Thus I’ve come to describe IntrapriseTechKnowlogies as a CPA firm that specializes in organizational development and technology management. With this description, all three intraprise elements are present:
Accounting = CPA firm: finance, governance, risk, and controls
Information Technology = technology management
Human Resources = organizational development
I’d prefer the latter part of the description be “techknowlogy management”, but for practical reasons like search engine optimization and spell checkers showing errors, we’re going with the traditional spelling of technology.
Our name has withstood the test of time for the last 15 years. And as the world transitions from the information age to the knowledge era, I know that our expertise in unlocking the potential of human capital via strategic technology-based innovation will drive synergies in our clients for years to come.
Contact Us to find out how we can help unlock the synergy in your organization.