The IT/Business Partnership

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

At the risk of over generalizing the situation, 10 to 15 years ago the relationship between IT and business departments was rather strained. The concerns about Y2K saw huge amount of investments being directed to technology projects and away from business initiatives, often leaving business department owners unable to execute on the strategies that they wanted to pursue because there simply wasn’t any money. After Y2K, the pendulum swung in the other direction with investment being directed heavily toward the business departments to try and make up for the period of heavy IT investment.

Nowadays there is much more of a balance between IT and the business groups that it supports. There is recognition that the two departments need one another more than ever before as the separation between the two becomes less and less defined in the real world--more and more business deliverables rely on technology, and technology is creating new business opportunities that never existed before. However, in many organizations there is still a little bit of a divide, and to really leverage one another there needs to be a true partnership between IT and the business departments that it supports.

Focus on common goals
The first thing that needs to be recognized (by both groups) is that IT doesn’t exist simply to manage systems, it’s there to facilitate business …

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