How to Close the Gap Between Business Executives and IT

by Tori Johnson on August 24, 2010

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So it’s no news to anyone that the marriage between business and IT is here to stay, but companies still struggle to make the partnership truly successful.  Like it or not, communication is king.  It’s time to really get to know each other.

…Information  Technology  (IT)  and  business  are  undeniably  interdependent   yet  there  exists  a  perceived  gap  between  technology  and  most  other  business units.  Whether it is a difference in perception,  culture,  language,  goals,  or any  combination  thereof,  the  gap  impacts both the IT business unit and the corporation as a whole.

Why does this gap between the business arm in a company and information technology exist? According to David Rettig, LAN Administrator for the engineering design firm  Burgess  &  Niple in Ohio,  the reasons can include :

  • A perception by business people that the Information Technology Department generates expenses not income
  • Information Technology Departments tend to look for the cheapest solution to a business problem rather than the most effective solution. This leads to systems being implemented that often cause problems for the users.
  • The Information technology department is “hidden” from the customer often classified as a “back office” business initiative or process.
  • Information Technology people tend to communicate in computerese.  Business and IT  speak different languages.
  • A perception by business people that business and IT have different goals.

In many companies people who work in the Information Technology Department are often viewed as not knowing what’s really going on within the rest of the business.   Whether accurate or misinformed this perception is damaging to the health and well-being of a business.

…. Companies today have the challenging task of seamlessly integrating technology and business into their operations. Business information technology is integral in business improvement and reaching business goals. Managing business technology, learning how to improve business with new technology, and the technology development process can make or break a company.


Communication is the main ingredient that will close the gap between Company Exec’s and the

IT Department. Business leaders must understand, really understand, that  Information Technology is not optional but critical to the success of the business.

The head of the company sets the tone for the entire business.

To increase communication between business units and Information Technology, leadership can begin by identifying business processes that can be improved by technology to increase the bottom line. This shows the entire company that the leadership considers IT initiatives  an important and essential part of the company.

In addition IT department teams need to understand the business practices of the company.

… Leaders today need to understand business technology management, recognize barriers to effective communication when explaining business IT solutions, and possess project management skills.

To feel comfortable about what may seem to be unreasonable expenditures for information systems both business executives and information technology personnel should look at the cost based on long term business goals rather than the initial expense. With proper planning, the implementation of a new system can solve immediate processing problems in the short run and increase the bottom line in the long run.

Cross Training

Rettig suggests that initiating cross training is one way to reduce the distance between business and IT.

… Cross   training   is   a loaded  concept  and  most  technologists  will be specialists  with  years  of  training  in  their  chosen  field.    This  does  not  mean  that  IT professionals  should  be  able  to  do  another  job;  however  they  can  understand  another job.  Expose technologists to other business units.  The Cisco engineer does not have to know how to put together a marketing presentation; however, they should know that the marketing  department  puts  together  a  presentation- regularly.    Conversely,  the  CFO does not  need  to  know  how  to  implement  upgrades, just why it is important.

To enhance the lines of communication between the two departments Rettig also  suggests that business personnel:

  • Go to a TechNet presentation
  • Go to a Cisco seminar for the technologist
  • Sit in through a technical web presentation
  • Invite the technologist to  business luncheons
  • Pay for an  accounting  or  business  class
  • Let the system  administrator  sit  in  on  a  budget meeting with the CFO

Those of you who have been through this process know what an internal “cross-training” meeting can look like; IT people sitting on one side of a conference table, business people sitting on the other, a lot of light, nervous chatter, each group looking at each other as if they were members from another planet wondering who was going to be the first person to  slip up and say something wrong.

For a company to really be successful, regular business/IT meetings should be held with everyone understanding that the success of the business is everyone’s goal and concern.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

รถห้องเย็นรับจ้าง August 15, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Thank you for another informative site. The place else could I am
getting that type of information written in such a perfect method?
I have a venture that I am just now operating on, and
I have been at the look out for such info.

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