On of the big things all application development people know (and I guess business development people know as well), is how their department is treated by management. This battle has been raging since companies decided to have an IT department. The perfect company would have an IT department that supports the business goals and objectives, and can scale and change quickly. I can hear some application development folks laughter already. It can happen. Management needs to let the IT department make the decisions on the software, hardware and infrastructure. IT must understand the business needs, and managements' objectives. The business needs to articulate their needs, and help IT understand the business concerns. In balance, all departments fulfill their roles and the business grows. I have seen some companies that at least understand this principle, and try to implement it, but most companies have one side dominating the other. I will highlight the major factors for the Great IT Battle.
Management treats IT as a cost center – That is correct only if you are an accounting firm. IT brings great value to any organization by streamlining your business processes, which gives you your competitive advantage. I think that more than justifies the cost.
Business “owns” the IT department – This is very common where the business was mature before IT was around. Management came from the business, and doesn't understand that IT is a separate department. IT cannot scale and maintain their infrastructure, so once every 5 – 7 years there is a project like the Big Dig. If you like complex, over budget projects, continue in this manner.
IT “owns” the business - This is common with organizations that see growth when they added IT. Usually this is caused by management thinking that IT solves all of the problems. IT supports the business. You still need a business plan and a vision.
Political battles between the three – This is the crux of the issue. Management usually comes from the business side, so when in a political battle, IT loses. Unless management views IT as the “magic bullet”, then IT wins. All political battles boil down to my next point:
Risk aversion - an executive at one of my clients pointed this out to me. All of the executives are the winners of many years of political battles. Any decision made is with the idea that they are near retirement, and will not make any drastic change that could hurt their position.
There are a lot of other factors that nuance these scenarios, so your view to the struggle is unique. We at STAR BASE would like to know where you are in this struggle by taking a brief (17 questions on 1 page) survey. STAR BASE can help your organization call a truce to the Great IT wars.