Engaging IT to business.

One of the most discussed area now-a-days is how to engage (align) IT with business. The root point here is that IT would like to become a partner to business, rather than staying a service provider. Getting there is not easy, but I’d like to share a few ideas how to start the  road with you:

The ball in on IT’s side. It is important to realise that it is IT that “would like to” be recognized as partner to business, so it is IT that needs to do the first (and several next) step. Business will not change its opinion about IT out of the blue or because IT wishes so, this paradigm shift needs to come from IT.

Proactivity is the key. Opportunities to show business that IT can a partner and actually get things done will rarely present without IT taking proactive approach. When there is an request for IT to aid / support a business initiative, IT should not tell business how it cannot be done … rather find (even less traditional) ways how to solve businesses’ issue.

Take the extra mile. There are always requests from business that can be fulfilled well enough … or excellent. IT should strive to take the extra mile as often as possible … not only fulfilling requests from business but rather exceed their expectations. When asked to provide an analysis, add some extra statistical charts or add date for a larger period of time than requested. When there is a planned system downtime, makes sure that after it will be back online to check with key users if the system is running correctly.

Listen to business. This is the key to any IT initiative to engage with business. Only rarely business managers will come to IT and tell them what they need. Its IT, impersonalised in the position of IT manager / CIO that has to engage business peers in conversation trying to figure out what is that bothers them. Taking the issue as a starting point, IT should be able to mitigate the issue and prepare a plan how to solve it.

Share with business. There are many decision made by IT that are effecting the entire company – main technology framework, BYOD, outsourcing … .Inviting business managers to join the decision making for such points can bring valuable opinions based on ‘real business’ experience as well as a certain feeling of engagement by those business managers towards tool / technologies they’ve helped to decide about.

 

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7 Comments on “Engaging IT to business.”

  1. Great article! Thanks for sharing your expertise! Business to IT alignment is an objective that most technology and business leaders would agree as essential for agility. However, ask for a definition of Business to IT alignment or how to implement an alignment strategy and the likely results are conflicting information and vague guidance. In the following blog I will try to add clarity to this topic as well as provide practical guidance.

    http://gbeaubouef.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/bus-it-alignment/

  2. Andre says:

    It’s not a matter of getting IT to engage as matter of fact if they don’t engage it could mean the end of the road at what ever company they are serving.

  3. […] by Dave Aron, CEO of Unisys Provides Four Tips to Align IT And Business Teams by Jacob Morgan, Engaging IT to business by Miroslav Jasso (myself).  If IT can come with measurable criteria how it directly helped to […]

  4. Alex Hobbs says:

    great article – the reason we chose http://www.rtwhosting.com when we were outsourcing our IT / Cloud provision is that we knew we would not get this alignment from our in-house team, as the trust is simply not there between the business and the IT functions

  5. Mirosav – this is good advice! I would only add one other element related to your advice on “sharing with the business”: At some point you need to formalize this sharing process inviting business people into a formal governance process that lets them take responsibility for helping you with priorities, investment decisions, and strategic direction. You can see some practical advice on how to build this kind of governance at http://www.yourseatatthetable.com.

    • Thank you Richard. I agree with your point – IT steering comitees are a great tool to get more business insight into IT processes and decissions. The challenge here is to keep business influence at a healthy level … as too much business influence on IT decissions might collide with project / investments that have a longer ROI then business would like to see …

  6. […] was back in October last year when I wrote the original article Engaging IT to business. Through many discussions on LinkedIn or during various events where I participated, I came to the […]


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