ICT and Getting Things Done

While reading again Julian Browne, I wanted to add his thoughts to my blog notes.

(Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Filmwork)

Julian Browne is unknown to me in real life. But he has his place in my digital panorama. There is one writing that I enjoyed to read:

=> The Business Alignment Fallacy

We exchanged our views also via email about the second article. One of the problem that I see in many areas and not only in ICT is that it can be complicated to decide about an orientation when the higher executive is not primary linked to the ICT world in this case. Julian expresses this here:

“Does that make it hard to write an IT Strategy? You bet your bum it does. Trying to extract the core essence and themes of your business model is a sensitive process and as soon as you start eschewing business alignment, it’s automatically a lot harder. Nobody wants those expensive nerds taking over, but you have to seize the initiative, be proactive and step above the business plan.

When you start to hit your sweet spot though, it’s surprisingly easy to sell that type of strategy back to the business. Your capabilities can stimulate their ideas. Suddenly IT looks like a platform for opportunity and not just cost. Rather than conversations being about how hard it is to do what they want the door is open to do what they didn’t know they could have, which might even be easier.”

My question was really: “How do you get to that level? You need an executive ready to listen and hear what it can take to bring the whole setup to that level!”. His answer was simple if I recall well his email: “There is too much theorizing that separates the business people and the ICT people. And this creates the mistaken idea that the fix is into the alignment.

Basically, getting things done rather than explaining how ICT will align to a business that is itself always adapting as well to its new realities. This puts ICT in a sort of chronic passive approach. Julian mentioned also an analogy that was given to him about someone requesting a service to a specialist: How does this usually work?

1- The request is made
2- The specialist shares his knowledge and understanding in an easy to understand way
3- He exposes the stakes of the different choices
4- He makes a strong case for the alternatives that were not obvious but which are good
5- He lets the requester (customer) decide what the best way forward is

There is no such “alignment”.
The specialist pretty much leads the way while the requester is in a complete position to decide the way forward.
In fact, there is no other way than to be aligned to the business? Or am I missing something?
The question is: “Has ICT the right organisation (technical and human) to adapt quickly to the business and to perhaps suggest solution that were not thought of in the first place?”.
If this is the case, I bet that the business will start to see new technologies as an asset and not only like a cost! But like the strategy, there is nothing easy!

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