Business and IT: How Can You Repair the Dysfunctional Relationship?

Posted on: October 24th, 2012 - Written by: Tom Metz

The relationship between business departments and IT is often a very dysfunctional one that is a result of dashed expectations, failed follow-through and unparalleled thinking and planning. A by-product of this dysfunctional relationship is the lack of purposeful IT innovation (according to what recent industry research uncovered). In fact, the relationship has degraded to the point, in some companies, that there is no trust or confidence in any abilities to innovate and result it confrontational attitudes. There is antagonism from IT and business sides in executive management, line-of-business employees and IT managers and staff. The dysfunction is also fueled by the dwindling budgetary tech allocations earmarked for anything beyond “keeping the lights on”.

The truly devastating end to this is that without IT innovation, companies cannot keep up with customer/consumer demands or even requirements driven by browsers and platforms. Without the ability, support and agility to deliver business-critical projects, IT cannot help companies keep up much less lead.

What are the dysfunctional facts revealed in recent research?

34% of business respondents say their relationship with IT is combative, distrustful or siloed.

31% of IT executives agree that the business-IT relationship is combative, distrustful or siloed.

20% of all executives say there’s no real innovation culture—only pockets of innovation in the organization.

34% of IT respondents believe that IT is the #1 innovation driver.

Only 14% of business execs say IT drives innovation.

Only $1 out of every $5 in an IT budget is spent on innovation.

63% of total IT spending is devoted to maintaining current systems.

By approaching IT innovation from a business perspective, software development can begin to repair the dysfunction in their relationship with business departments. This requires that IT gain business analysis skills. But doing so isn’t as simple as hiring a business advisor. The unique combination of software development knowledge and business acumen is rare, but acquiring it means that a development team can look at the features and functions of applications from the business unit perspective, with an understanding of what the application needs to accomplish daily and where the application can take the business long-term.

Ignoring investment in IT innovation is costly to businesses, damaging ability to attract new customers/markets, increasing pressure of competitive environment and resulting in revenue loss.

Learn more about software development resources with business insight.

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