Is IT part of the business?


How many times have you seen words to the effect of – ‘the business and IT’?

For example:

  • ‘we need to get the business and IT to work more effectively together’
  • ‘we need better business and IT alignment’

I was reading an interesting blog today it contained a diagram that had the business on one side and IT on the other.

It got me thinking – in any of the above – would you replace the word ‘IT’ with another business unit?

Would you say ‘the business and Sales’? HR? Finance? Marketing? Research etc etc?

If not – why do we treat IT as a special case? Why do we use language that effectively treats IT as a separate entity from ‘the business’?

Does using language like this lead to a mindset which creates barriers within an enterprise?


Where now for corporate IT?


In an interesting article Must IT solutions always be based on software? Lyn Robinson makes the assertion that “When software becomes a commodity, IT solutions will be based on information requirements.”

I agree with his general sentiment and think that over the next few years corporate IT is going to have to change the way that it thinks and operates.

Enterprise architecture is sometimes categorised into four ‘pillars’:

  • business
  • information
  • solution
  • technical

Traditionally IT and EA groups within organisations have focused on the last two with less attention payed to information and business architecture – see The State Of EA In 2009 – A Disconnect Between Goals And Activities? As the last last two increasingly become viewed as commodities and sourced externally, this is going to have to switch.

As Todd Biske comments – “IT needs to change its fundamental thinking from provider to advisor or be at risk of becoming irrelevant.”

Data architecture – so what?


Read an interesting post How to Present Data Quality Dimensions For Maximum Impact .

The blog is about data quality but it applies to all aspects of data management.

It offers good advice – when presenting to business users:

  • don’t talk about the technicalities
  • put it in terms that they will understand
  • tell them how you are able to solve their problems.

The author sums it up quite succintly – “ask yourself if your presentation answers two simple words – so what?”.

Last year I attended a DAMA UK event – So how do we remain relevant? – on a related theme – the need to better articulate the value of data management.

Someone mentioned the importance of the 3 R’s:

  • Revenue – increase it
  • Reduce costs
  • Regulatory – ensure meeting risk and compliance standards

Whatever we are working on – should always be meeting one or more the 3 R’s.

And as importantly – we should be ready to articulate them in terms that will resonate with the particular business audience.

The question was asked – what would your ‘elevator pitch’ be for the benefits of data architecture (insert any aspect of data management) to the CEO, CIO, business manager, IT project manager, developer etc?

I tend to use the generic – data architecture is about ensuring – “the right data, to the right people, at the right time”.

I realise I need to do a lot of refinement on this to ‘effectively sell’ data architecture to the rest of the business!