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Technologists and Businesses Still Not Engaging with Each Other

A recent McKinsey survey (from December 2011 McKinsey Quarterly  “A Rising Role for IT:  McKinsey Global Survey Results”) notes a true dichotomy in IT performance and IT’s role in business decision-making.  While an increasing number of non-IT executives give IT a score of 61% for basic services like email and laptop support, only 26% rank IT high in the most vital area of ‘proactively engaging with business leaders on new ideas or systems enhancements.’

Maybe not surprisingly, nothing has changed in decades.  Technologists get strong scores for executing the basics well — the infrastructure, which is unfortunately not viewed as a value-added activity.  Yet, the business still does not think highly of IT where it can matter most:  jointly developing strategies to make the corporation more competitive and effective.

A business entity that only relies on technology for doing ‘overhead’ well is not a business that will engender or strive for a strong line of communication and openness with the IT organization, thereby hindering productivity, cost reduction, market positioning and organizational growth.  With all the articles and analyses on the importance and role of technology enabling strategy, it’s a shame that the relationship to create a working union still has so far to go.

I continue to see a true lack of communication between the business and technology organizations, resulting in implementation failures due to lack of understanding rather than anything technical.

Our goal as business and technology managers should be to raise the number reported by McKinsey, develop a truly integrated relationship between the two, and expect nothing less.  I do not believe the problem is that hard to fix.