Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

The IT department may, for instance, be impressed with the management elegance of a thin-client architecture but end users won't stand for losing ownership of their desktop applications. Business execs may like the functionality of this HR suite, that general ledger app and the other sales force automation system--and may want to customize them all to fit their processes--but this mixed technology bag proves impractical for IT to integrate and manage.

Last issue's column blamed part of this disconnect on sales, marketing, finance and other corporate decision-makers who refuse to get up to speed on technology. How can traditional business types hope to maximize their IT investments when they don't understand what technology can do for them? Here's the flip side: How can IT pros hope to make the right product and technology purchasing decisions when they're not fully engaged in their companies' processes and goals?

The disconnect is partly organizational and partly cultural. For decades, IT organizations have been set up as arm's-length departments, sometimes as internal service providers. As cost centers, their productivity was defined mostly by how much money they spent (or didn't spend). Technology pros weren't business-change agents but support staffers.

Mess vs. Mesh

While many companies have brought in CIOs from the traditional business ranks and have set up fancy matrix organizations (where tech managers report up through business departments as well as the IT group), the integration of technology with other business competencies can be more gloss than substance.

  • 1