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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Changing IT Doubters Into Believers

(Via CIO.com) Too many business leaders have little faith in IT's ability to deliver value. To save themselves—and their businesses—CIOs must change that negative perception into a positive belief in IT as a strategic partner. Excerpts with edits and comments:
CIOs are making tremendous strides toward boosting IT's credibility. Many are overseeing a balanced portfolio of IT work and practicing good project management. Some have figured out how to run their IT shops like disciplined businesses. And plenty of IT chiefs have a seat at the executive table.Even among companies with a solid reputation in the IT community, the average business perception of IT's value is an unimpressive 6.05 on a scale of one to 10 (with one being extremely negative and 10 being extremely positive). The biggest complaint is IT costs too much.It takes too long to deliver benefits or doesn't deliver them at all. IT is a commodity that fails to deliver differentiation. It doesn't line up with business strategy.In many cases, these perceptions of IT are misperceptions, based on a lack of understanding or awareness. Companies that value IT less miss out on opportunities for innovation and growth and, ironically, spend IT dollars inefficiently. "If a business doesn't believe in IT and doesn't believe that investing in IT is a choice that will produce results, they can put themselves at a competitive disadvantage" to companies that believe in IT and do invest, says Michael Gerrard, vice president at Gartner.
CIOs can change how the business perceives IT and its value. Using a combination of measurement and communication practices, along with alignment-enhancing moves, CIOs can turn adversaries into allies and doubters into true believers—that is, businesspeople who regard IT as a strategic partner capable of delivering high value to the enterprise. It won't be easy. Business leaders may be loath to commit their time or resources to getting involved in IT, and lack of a clear framework for valuing IT can handicap CIOs seeking to raise IT's reputation. And perceptions, particularly long-held ones, don't disappear overnight, or even with a success or two. Changing minds takes consistent effort, not only in terms of delivering IT value but in measuring that value, communicating that value and enlisting the business to help IT deliver that value.

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