The business and IT, IT and the business: even as calls for a bridge between the two become more urgent and more articulate, the actual divide may be shrinking, leaving only the illusion of separateness in today’s enterprise. As Pearl Zhu writes, the five core drivers of this synergy are what professionals focus on when they aspire to make the connection.
No 1. Cultural Change
It takes a very concerted and organized effort and a strong desire on both sides to make it happen. Over-communication is a key. It also generally starts at the top with senior executives leading the way by setting the goals and strategy and ensuring that they are adhered to through measurement and metrics.
No 2. ‘Core’ Priorities
This driver begins with senior leadership deciding what constitutes a ‘core’ IT function. This effort typically involves the cloud, although Zhu is quick to point out that core functions do not necessarily migrate off-site. Instead, secondary IT functions may move to the cloud so that the business can have IT operate on what matters.
No 3. Critical Technology
Technologies like big data are, to IT people, what candy is to little kids. Zhu cautions against this mentality when dealing with tools that can move the business forward. Not only should IT units consider the inherent value of emerging technologies, they should also consider the merits of new technologies from the viewpoint of the business.
No 4. IT Leadership
Almost nothing is accomplished successfully without strong leadership and an IT governance component in place from square one. Each layer of strategy and planning builds on the next, with core priorities being identified, molded, and communicated across the necessary divisions.
No 5. Service Support Thinking
The culmination of a bridged divide between IT and the business, according to Zhu, amounts to what might be characterized as IT service support. In a service support environment, more self-reliance is given to the LOB, making IT’s role less about empowering and more about enabling.
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