The disconnect between business and IT

Happy New Year. I’ve just spent six months at a small Federal Government agency and, as usual have learned a lot about why IT fails to deliver value to the business.

The IT department believes that all it takes is for them to gather requirements, design and build infrastructure and IT systems and its business users will be happy.

Unfortunately, the success rate is very low. Business is dissatisfied, IT people complain that the business is not very good at describing its requirements and all round there is significant unrest.

The project I was working on involved me reviewing a requirements document for a new system. When I asked who translated the high level requirements (which were intended to be part of a funding proposal) into detailed requirements that could be fed into the design stage, the answer was – no one.

As it turned out, IMHO, the enterprise and other architects in this agency were more like designers than architects.

I pointed out to the architect people that there were no business architects who understood what business processes needed to be supported, and who understood the business information and data flows. These people had no idea what I was talking about – which wasn’t surprising to me as my view was that they were designers and technology specialists.

The business people I spoke with got it immediately. Some of them had in the past engaged consultants and business analysts to help them communicate with the IT department. The business realised that there was a gap but the IT department didn’t.

This experience just provided more examples of the failure of the solution driven approach of IT.

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