Project Portfolio Management

The Three Keys to IT and Business Integration

1, 2, 3, Aligned!

Can alignment be as easy as one, two three? Maybe not in the real world, but on paper it’s possible to reduce this essential aim into just three keys—as done by Larry Bonfante in this article from CIO Insight. Bonfante explains that an article last December that he wrote (where he suggested integrating with the business rather than trying to align) struck a chord with many readers, and as such he wanted to continue that conversation through providing a few ways to make that integration happen. They include:

  1. Be a value-added business partner
  2. Be easy to work with
  3. Be likeable


Demonstrate Value

Let’s start with the first suggestion, which makes plenty of sense: being a value-added business partner. IT, in the past, has had difficulty not being seen as a necessary expense. If IT has any hope of being seen as strategic, it must first prove that it’s a value adding partner in the business. By framing itself as helpful, willing, and able, IT organizations can do quite a bit to change the common conception that they are the land of no and slow, as described by Bonfante.

The other two, however, seem to be much more of a soft skill exercise. Being easy to work with and being likeable might not seem like the realm of IT (point in fact, IT is notorious for being hard to work with and unlikable, sadly), but the organization can’t be seen as a grump in the long term, anymore. As Bonfante explains, being easy to work with is essential in the process of being welcomed into the business:

A second key strategy is that we need to develop a reputation of being easy to work with. We need to be perceived as being open to new ideas, flexible in finding ways around issues and adaptable to changing business conditions. We can't take a one-size-fits-all approach to solving business problems. Also, we can't act like we are the only ones with good ideas! Questions you should be asking yourself include: Are we collaborating with our business partners to find innovative solutions to thorny problems? Do we elicit their input into ways to drive change? Are we facilitating a dialogue between peers or monopolizing a monologue since we are the subject-matter experts?

Being likeable, likewise, helps people want to help you and want to be helped by you. While it might not be as important as the other two keys, it’s still a great way to make sure that you’re the first person the business calls when it needs help.

Read the full article here:

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