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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tearing Down Walls Between IT & Business

Michael Liebow, IBM Global Services thinks that Cracks are beginning to appear in the thick walls traditionally separating IT departments from the business leaders at some of the nation's top companies. Signs are foreshadowing these walls will crumble completely creating a new environment for business leaders to interact with technology leaders and the result can have significant impact on the bottom line. Big companies are creating board-level panels with tech-savvy directors to oversee new technology projects as well as ease compliance and governance issues surrounding new technology. The new and emerging tech boards are bridging the gap at these innovative companies by helping to ease complex technical issues now facing many boards. A response to the free spending ways of the dot com era, increasing complexity of technology issues and the need to bridge the gap between IT issues and business issues were several reasons the story cited for creating these new tech boards.
IT departments have gone down a path of implementing technology that now consumes 80 to 90 percent of IT budgets simply to maintain, leaving a miniscule amount of budget to implement new projects that can actually generate revenue. Business leaders have handed down marching orders to execute new programs without concern for limits of IT systems or resources needed to build, deploy and manage these systems. Michael points out those other industries have resolved similar issues on their own over time through standardized processes and layers of governance. In no other area of emerging technology is it more important to get board approval on new projects than with service-oriented architectures, a standards-based framework that enables enterprises to evolve to on demand businesses that integrate business data and applications with customers, partners and suppliers. An SOA is equal part technology planning and equal part transforming business processes. To make improvements and grow, businesses need better visibility into their business processes. Breaking the business down into a component view - from a discrete process or the business processes supporting the entire enterprise-is critical to achieving business improvement and growth. These business components form the blueprints of any successful SOA implementation. Starting to deploy an SOA without this blueprint would be disastrous.IT leaders and business leaders must work together, share plans and have common goals. Cracks in the walls need to burst into holes and eventually the walls must crumble completely and company boards of directors will help to lead the fix.
My Take: The disconnect between IT & Business leads to complications and difficulties and a tech savvy board grappling with compliance management can certainly step in and change the scenario. SOA centric solutions may help in streamlining and bring in manageable complexity but the dream of achieving same maturity levels like the construction industry looks far fetched to me

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