May 08, 2013

In our Think IT meetings, a common theme that arises no matter the topic is the perceived disconnect between IT and “the business.” With that being said, two of Think IT’s CIO group members, Mike Booke and Harold Knutson, decided that they would like to do a bit of research on why this gap exists and what can be done to improve it.

We sent out a 5- question survey to 797 Think IT group members on their behalf.  Members were given from April 5th, 2013 to April 14th, 2013 to take the survey and they received 74 responses (9.3%). While they weren’t necessarily surprised by the results they received, it was very insightful and could be used as a starting point for understanding and trying to create stronger relationships within an organization.

Here is a brief summary of their results:

  1. Please select no more than three of the top reasons why you believe the Business and IT don’t partner more effectively. (Participants had the option to choose up to 3 predefined reasons and enter in a reason under “Other”) Here are the 4 top-rated reasons:
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  1. Of the three reasons you chose above; please select the one reason that is the largest contributor to the lack of partnership. (Participants again had the option to choose “Other” and provide their own reason) The same 4 responses from above were the top choices:

 

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  1. Please select up to three main challenges impacting effective communication between the Business and IT. (Participants had the option to choose “Other” and enter in a reason) Top 2 results:
Question 3
4. Select the top 3 activities that would help improve Business and IT partnering. (Participants had the option to choose “Other” and enter in a reason) Top 3 results:  
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  1. From the top three activities you selected above, select the first and most important activity that would help begin to improve Business and IT partnering. (Participants had the option to choose “Other” and enter in the same reason from the previous question) The same 3 responses from above were the top choices:

 

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Based on the results we have learned two major things:

  1. IT professionals feel that they need a greater understanding of the Business in order to be more effective identifying and meeting the needs of the business
  2. Many IT professionals see joint strategic planning as a way to bridge the gaps

There are many ways that organizations can leverage this type of information through the recognition that problems or inconsistencies exist.  We recently held an IT Leadership meeting to discuss the results of the survey and we learned that one of our CIO members had recognized this in his current company. He brought in an outside organizational consultant to assess the situation and provide feedback and strategies for improvement. This allowed his company to change their processes and partner more effectively. Having an outsider come in and objectively look at how your organization works can be truly eye opening and help ensure that all facets of the organization are on the same page.

While hiring an outsider may not be feasible for everyone, it is definitely something to consider if you notice that there is a big disconnect within your organization. Though, what is truly important is open communication through regular face-to-face discussions. This will help everyone gain a greater understanding of what is needed from both sides in order to meet the needs of the company and clients!

What are your thoughts on the relationship between IT and the Business? Is there really a gap? If so, what are your thoughts on how to bridge that gap? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted By: Briana Perrino

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