Windward Insights

Getting Biz and IT in the Same Boat

Written by Michele Darwin

boats by pier at harbor during sunrise, Netherlands

The idea that IT should be built to improve business performance is nothing new. In the past few years, management and tech teams have reached an uneasy truce. The brainiacs who live in the server room understand that they are still beholden to the bottom line, while the suits in the cubicles and corner offices realize they have to give the innovators a little leeway if they want to get their jobs done.

Ultimately, however, everyone is learning that business is business, which means IT investments have to be seen as exactly that: investments. They can’t be written off as an ongoing expense that needs upgraded software and equipment on a quarterly basis. They have to earn their keep within the organization. There has to be technological payback.

With that mindset, management and IT must have a strategy that clearly defines enterprise needs, helpingalign processes, organization, information, and technology to best support decision-making throughout that enterprise.

Getting these interests and objectives to converge creates the sweet-spot of IT that’s the most beneficial for business. But what do those abovementioned categories mean? Here are some precise explanations:

  • Processes -You need robust, repeatable, and flexible processes that are implemented and optimized for quality, efficiency and effectiveness. Simply defining them is not enough.
  • Organization -Everyone is a stakeholder, but roles and responsibilities within an organization must be clearly defined. When everyone knows their role, everyone is incentivized to participate in planning and decision-making, and is far more responsive with regard to their area of expertise.
  • Information -Good info is critical, which means transparency, timelines and accuracy are imperative. It’s a delicate balance demanding clarity for everyone involved (specialist and non-specialist alike), but the right data and metrics delivered to the right decision makers is the key to actionability.
  • Technology -The right technology is what connects participants throughout the organization, vertically and horizontally, so that processes are accessible, actions are visible, and reasoning is easy to understand. With these systems in place, you can automate reporting, access analytics, facilitate communication, integrate feedback, and truly synchronize efforts throughout the enterprise.