BlinkLane Consulting

Business IT fusion requires true collaboration

by Michael Maurer

In practice I see very little or no business IT fusion. Fusion is the result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity. Have you ever seen business and IT joined together in to form a single entity?

Bizarre images of technology infused business people form in my minds eye…..

But seriously, although there is much talk about business-IT fusion I see relatively little of it in practice. In general, IT is organized in a separate department. Separated from the business and not fused with it. Collaboration across different business departments is difficult enough. Collaboration requires working together with someone to produce or create something. But since IT is often considered supportive to the business, it is treated as a supplier. Not as a business partner or even as an integral part of the business. Business managers will act as clients and IT is treated as a supplier. And IT fulfills this role without hesitating or resistance. The supplier role is often the comfort zone of ‘IT-people’. Just tell me what you want Mr. Business, and I will go away and realize it. True collaboration is still quite rare in relations between business and IT.

Putting it bluntly, many business managers are not interested in what really happens in IT. They simply want their IT departments to deliver. They do not want to understand the inner workings of the IT department. But this attitude does not foster collaboration. On the other side, IT-people often do not really try to understand the business, the underlying processes and what is needed to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. They are content in their technology driven world. And technology by itself does not create competitive advantage. That is done by technology-enabled capabilities.

So how do we enable true collaboration and in the end fusion between business and IT? The start is to acknowledge that IT is a part of the business instead of a separate functional specialty. Every business manager is also an IT manager. And IT needs to focus on deep-user-understanding. This requires real understanding of the business drivers and how IT can contribute to affect positively affect these. The responsibility of having good IT needs to be shared between business and IT. This shared responsibility is required to break through the duality between business and IT and start collaborating.