A discussion following a recent article on business management triggered the question: Is IT part of "the business"? Or does "the business" sit over there and IT sits over here and IT observes what the business is doing and then attempts to react?"
I was so very glad I was sitting down when I read this last evening, for I might have hurt myself while laughing maniacally. As it was, my dog was eyeing me warily.
‘That’ situation was the ‘business model’ that still exited when I moved from technology development to technology management in the early 80’s. ( Yes.. that is me on the right in the picture above.)
During each up-swing in profitability and growth, companies begin to move toward just what the author suggested, giving CIO’s and/or CTO’s room to move ahead of the company business model and giving IT not only a greater say in, but tighter integration/participation with not only the individual divisions and departments that it supports, but the ‘business’ as an overall organisation. Strategic planning is paid attention to and inventiveness is rewarded, especially at times like this when the long term picture is once again beginning to come back into focus.
But like rock tossed into the air…
When business declines and companies find themselves tightening their belts, their appetites diminish and their long-term focus gets tunnel vision. Support for existing IT gets out-sourced to ‘less costly’ sources, in-house IT overhead is reduced (often drastically), CTO’s find themselves pink-slipped or demoted, and the CIO finds himself back under the CFO’s thumb.
… and suddenly we’re back to business on the left, doing as it will (or as it must), and IT on the right trying to react and defend every move it makes in support of the most recent set of ‘marching orders.’
After thirty plus years as an IT ‘salvage consultant’, all I can say is there is far too much truth in the old saw…
The more things change the more they stay the same.