It is one of those clichés that you hear – “IT and business need to work together.” I believe it is up there with “everything is online” and “nowadays we use computers for everything.” But, where there is smoke there is fire; and behind these clichés, there are actually some truths. In this blog post, I will focus on IT and business – A love story in the making.
As many companies try to focus their effort on digital strategies and the digital customer experience, there is one hurdle that is perceived as a big one: the relationship between the business side and the IT side of an organization. The business is of the opinion that the IT department often works with a tunnel vision, only cares about the process, and chooses technologies based on ease-of-use and cost instead of business needs; whereas IT claims that business side is fuzzy, changing their minds all the time, focusing on trends rather than sustainability.
But, why would the relationship matter in the field of digital customer experience and digital transformation? Well, in my opinion, a strong relationship between the two is an outright necessity in order to become a digital enterprise, if we look at the following statements:
- One of the core values of becoming digital is the ability to be adaptive and offer the customers what they want, when they want it.
- That type of flexibility requires the organization to be quick and have the ability to roll out new offers and functions in days or weeks, not in months or years.
- If we agree on the first two statements, then it stands to reason that the organization needs to work together in a tight and loving relationship to make it happen.
To nurture the relationship between business and IT, a couple of things could be done. A member of the client’s team in a project I once worked in, stated that to ensure smooth operation between the Business and IT, the first thing we need to do is to stop using the terms ‘Business’ and ‘IT.’ I think this statement hits right at the core of the problem. I believe its fine that they are two parts of the organization for all practical matters, but when it comes to meeting customer needs; the two should work and be seen as one.
Below are my suggestions to achieve oneness between IT and Business:
- Gather cross-functional teams with common goals and focus on the customer need, added value to your offering, as well as perceived experience.
- Make the team responsible for the end result and the user experience, and stop focusing on fulfilling their respective traditional parts. They will all bring their different competences and functions to the group, but they should be allowed to break free of silo thinking.
- Lower the obstacles for these teams in all practical areas by giving them joint budgets, co-location, and adapt Agile methodologies as ways of working.
- Encourage creativity from all team members and don’t underestimate the value of team activities to strengthen the co-operative spirit.
This is difficult. It requires changes both in how you work and what you work with, but in the end it boils down to one of the crucial steps of becoming a digital enterprise. So, keep this love story in the making alive and keep nourishing your relationships. If you need assistance, please connect with me and I’ll be your digital relationship coach.