Reasons For IT-Business Misalignment (Part 3)

I my last post I listed 4 causes of the misalignment between business and IT. In this post I continue the list.


Reason 5: Implementers have insufficient domain knowledge.
Obviously IT folk need to understand IT – but that’s the bare minimum required to be effective. It’s important to understand the business and industry that you’re operating in. Without sufficient domain knowledge you can’t communicate effectively with the business and this leads to countless problems (e.g. instead of requirements gathering you ‘take orders’)

Solution: IT folk need to learn the business (and industry) they work in.

Reason 6: IT building itself into solutions.
It’s generally accepted that typical IT Department’s spend roughly 80% of their budget on maintenance and 20% on new initiatives. The are many reasons for this but the main one (I think) is that IT Departments build themselves into solutions. In many cases, IT delivers all the features the business wanted but neglect to factor in all the “behind the scenes” things that are needed to operate the solution (e.g. maintenance screens, report writing tools)

Solution: Build complete, end-to-end solutions that don’t require constant hand-holding from IT.

Reason 7: Line of business instead of enterprise focus.
We know that most IT solutions are developed for a particular business unit. This is largely down to organisational factors (e.g. funding models, governance) and the result is a large number of siloed solutions. And here’s the problem. When a new business initiative starts, every department prepares accordingly (e.g. policies, procedures, staff training etc). Part of the preparation involves burying the IT Department in ‘change requests’. Marketing sends their requests, sales sends their, accounts want changes and so on. And of course IT is notified at the last minute – when everything else has been done. IT can never hope to manage this sudden peak in workload.

Solution: Take an enterprise-wide approach to IT solutions. LOB thinking is not sustainable.

So that’s my 7 reasons why IT cannot keep pace with the changing business needs. It’s not caused by a different pace of change (business changing quicker than IT) – the causes are largely due to timing (business getting a head start) and direction (IT going off on tangents).

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One Response to Reasons For IT-Business Misalignment (Part 3)

  1. E.A. Anon says:

    5. Agreed. IT don’t fully understand the business, and business people don’t fully understand IT. And, considering the pace of technology change, it is equally true to say that IT don’t fully understand IT. In fact, this may be more of a problem than the previous two statements. The biggest issues I have seen in IT are where IT don’t fully comprehend the complexity / functionality / lack of functionality of some new IT technology they have decided to use. This is truly an issue, besides the pace of IT.

    6. This is a ‘cost’ issue, not really an alignment issue.

    7. Firstly, this is a business problem, not an IT problem! IT would love to be enterprise focused, but LOB business control of IT does not allow them to be. Secondly, under this scenario, IT is very well aligned – with the LOB! If the business wants IT to be aligned with the enterprise rather than with individual LOBs, then centralize IT under ‘enterprise’ control, rather than distributing IT under LOB control.

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