In many organizations, business teams and their IT counterparts seem a world apart. From philosophy to execution, they appear to follow the beat of radically different drummers. In large part, this is a vestige of past perception in which business teams saw IT as “the department of NO!” Until very recently, many IT organizations worked in the “command and control” mode in which they laid down rules and were severely restrictive about exceptions. While IT has evolved from that state, perceptions of the past still haunt organizations and negatively affect their culture of cooperation.
This situation must change. No organization can truly enter the modern era without fully understanding and internalizing the fact that business and IT have converged into a singularity. With the advent of digitization, IT and IT-led innovation are the inherent and essential backbones of productivity and growth. Modern business is predicated on IT.
If seen through the prism of singularity, clarity emerges quickly. Internecine struggles and the bane of organizational life must be willed out of existence. No more “us versus them.” For an organization to be truly agile and capitalize on the real advantages of digitization, departments must align and merge; they share the same taproot and converge on the same goals.
This doesn’t mean all conflict is bad. At times, the difference in timelines between business and IT, and the need for IT to be highly cognizant of security, privacy, governance, and compliance lead to healthy divergence. When business teams want to run headlong into the fray, IT can play a role in helping them be more circumspect; to build a sustainable business, many factors must be brought into play.
On the other hand, when IT teams over-index on risk mitigation and thereby prevent innovation, business teams can help them be more liberal. That interplay is crucial to sustainable growth, but must be done in the context of an overall harmonization of goals.
When goals are harmonized and an agreement is made between the teams, affirmative steps must be taken to ensure that good intentions actually stick. People from each team must be deputed to other groups to play a role of cross-advocacy.
Hiring practices too must change. We need more IT savvy sales and marketing teams and more business savvy IT teams. The mindset of singularity requires constant learning and constant reminders to stem the centripetal forces that plague so many organizations.
As organizations solidify early attempts at digital transformation, Cloud adoption, mobile-enablement, and data-driven business, the organic connection between business and IT is crucial. So too is the singularity mindset. These are multi-year journeys and require sustained focus and investment.
This mindset and the associated organizational changes are not easy to come by. For decades, organizations that have operated in a particular fashion cannot be changed by the mere incantation of an idea. For this reason, Akvelon partners with firms to act as an outside catalyst for change. We bring no baggage of the past and are unafraid to ask the hard questions.
As decision makers seek to grow and re-invent their organizations and keep abreast of the whirlwind of change, harmonizing IT and business is crucial. That is our clarion call for 2018.