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Business or Technology: Who’s the Boss?

Word_business_tech004 It’s time to stop getting bossed around by technology.  IT groups too often create their list of projects and priorities based on a logical and mainly technical viewpoint. Their agenda is driven by upgrading hardware and software to take advantage of new capabilities that vendors have built into their products, along with support and maintenance.

A couple of significant trends have occurred in the past decade or so:

The first trend was a drive to reduce costs by combining hardware and software platforms and licenses, along with labor reductions. Mission accomplished.

The second trend was recognition by business executives and groups that this BI, CPM and DW stuff could be leveraged to increase revenue, improve responsiveness to customers, develop products faster, etc. A funny thing happened; IT did not get the memo! IT too often still bases their IT budget and plan on technology priorities and sometimes vendor priorities rather than what the business needs.

The madness has got to stop.

Business is crying for new or expanded BI, CPM and DW programs. Many, maybe most, of your business top initiatives need data. Every one of your data projects should be directly tied to a priority business initiative.

One of the frustrations many IT people encountered with their data governance or integration competency center (ICC) programs is that the business is not really participating at the level needed and easily gets distracted.

Wake up, they are getting “distracted” by the priority business initiatives. If your data governance and ICC programs were an integral part of those business initiatives then the sponsoring business executives would not be distracted and would be committed.

Enterprise data management is a long-term program that requires participation and commitment from both IT and business. To get that they both need to be on the same page. And what better way for the CIO and IT group to understand their business and shape their data projects to what their business needs then by having their data projects be part of the data initiatives.

Most importantly, that’s how you get true business ROI.




  1. Jim Finnigan says:

    My experience was that IT didn’t want to have the business sign off on requirements or specifications documents because that slows the project down!

  2. rick sherman says:

    I agree. Getting into the details and reaching agreement, often among varying business viewpoints, is time consuming but it is needed to build a system that is going to be of value to the business. Unfortunately since IT skimped on this in the past it is tough for IT mgt to justify in this instance.
    Another factor is that IT gets kudos for the quick wins or rapid “prototypes”. This gets something to the business immediately (skipping the bus req’ts step) but often this approach ensures a never ending succession of quick fixes and a business that wonders why IT can never get it right.
    It is a classic “ready, fire, aim” approach except that IT keeps firing but not aiming (designing).

  3. This is a very valid argument and the good points from each party make the topic more interesting. I believe the second trend is very evident these days. Hmmm… I won’t be surprised to know about upcoming trends in the months to come, with IT being an ever-changing field.

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