Why Can’t IT and Business Just Get Along?

R Ray Wang speaking at the AIIM Conference last week, implored business and IT to just get along.

There needs to be balance between IT and business requirements in an organization, otherwise the business will not be well served.

This was the conclusion of R.Ray Wang, analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, at the AIIM Conference in San Francisco last week.

As I wrote the other day in Five Forces Driving the Consumerization of IT, Wang talked about the forces and trends driving the consumerization of IT. These trends have tended to shift that balance of power, which for many years was dominated by IT’s rules, regulations and equipment choices.

With cloud, mobile and social (and other factors), business users can now access and use services that serve them well, but might not always serve the organization so well — and that can be a problem.

For users, these services are “simple, scalable and even sexy,” Wang says. But IT is concerned about making sure these services are “safe, secure and sustainable” (which according to Wang used to mean having a 10 year life span, but now is down to 5).

So Wang says, if business were to make all its own IT decisions, it would soon be chaotic for the company, but if IT is given too much power, the company stagnates.

That’s why it’s so important that IT business have a conversation, Wang said.

And the AIIM organization itself is a great example of how this is playing out in a real-world example.

AIIM Chief Marketing Officer Cheryl McKinnon told me that she and CIO Laurence Hart are working on these very issues. For her, the focus is not on seeing Hart as a roadblock, but as a “trusted expert” who can help guide her to make the right technology decisions that work for her as a business unit and the organization as a whole.

As Wang pointed out, it’s important for IT to understand the big picture and how these systems relate to one another. If your business users are using an expense system, does it tie into the company financial systems? ┬áCan you get the data out if you need to? Is it secure?

These are the important questions IT needs to ask, but at the same time business needs tools that help workers do the job in a simple, frictionless ways.

Finding ways to sort out your roles in a shifting landscape is going to be important moving forward — and both business and IT need to give a little for benefit of the organization’s overall business goals.

Photo by AIIM Photos on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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