CIOIT-Business Alignment

In Pursuit of an Agile Business Culture

Sales and marketing might hate the new system IT implemented, while IT simultaneously believes the new system is the greatest thing since Rocky IV. And the weird thing is that both sides might have a leg to stand on. Still, such discrepancies must be smoothed out in the pursuit of an agile business culture. In an article for CIO magazine, Nathan Shinn contributes some advice to foster alignment.

Better Buy-in

IT views itself as a provider and creator of products and services, and end-users view themselves as the people actually making the money. And they are both right, but they could afford to practice more empathy with each other’s position. What CIOs particularly would be wise to do is bring the users themselves into the creative process when they are seeking to modernize. Users whose voices are heard will be more involved and agreeable to change than users who simply have new technology imposed upon them.

Shinn goes on to recommend three tips for making a change everyone can agree with:

  • Select and deploy systems based on modern technologies that empower users to do work without IT intervention.
  • Engage end-users in the process of developing tools.
  • The IT department should develop and adapt tools in a continuous cycle that benefits agile work.

About that last tip, Shinn writes this:

When IT says “Here’s what the system does, adjust your business process accordingly,” that’s a recipe for failure. IT needs to listen carefully to the needs of end-users, and if a tool they’re developing isn’t quite right for end-users, it must be configurable such that an employee or designated power user can modify it as opposed to having to go through a software development cycle. In short, the ideal systems will promote agility with a high level of configurability, so they can be constantly adapted to new business processes and/or user feedback quickly.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here:

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