I recently completed my first grad school course and started my second. While the first focused on leadership, the second is dialed into information technology (IT) management (so I’m quite excited about it).
Our first unit focused on strategy, planning, and alignment (which are all good buzz words). However, the word alignment received some extra billing within the readings because of how that specific word can still leave IT as a separate entity and not fully integrated into the business.
The word promoted in place of alignment was partnership. The picture that partnership is supposed to conjure up is one of two equals working together toward the same goal. While still providing maybe a little too much separation between IT and the rest of the business, it does move things in the right direction.
With that in mind, a friend of mine and I had a little discussion on this very topic over Twitter. Here is just a small sample of what we covered:
@boblmartens Agreed. I take the viewpoint that IT can be a facilitator and partner for innovation but it works best coming from the business
— Nate Beran (@nateberan) October 29, 2015
IT isn’t an afterthought and it can’t be run separately from everything else. IT is the business, or a major part of it. If you are doing anything of worth, you are most likely working with information technology in some form or fashion and instead of looking at it traditionally as a cost-center to be managed, it is better to think of it as a valuable business partner were there are opportunities to innovate.
This also means that IT needs to think more globally, but the good news is that the people within that department are usually uniquely positioned to be able to easily do that. What department doesn’t IT work with? None. IT works with them all!
There is no alignment to be had or worked on because the goals should be the same across the board. If they are not, then there is work to be done.