In a recent article for Beyond IT Failure Michael Krigsman highlights the colossal disconnect between IT and the business. Looking at the graph below has IT really spun off at a tangent? Is IT just pursuing its pet projects again?
IT is not wrong. IT is best placed to understand compliance requirements. IT should understand which applications delivery value for money and IT should be able to choose which apps support competitive advantage. Cloud is, by and large, a non-functional requirement as so does not need to be in the functional user spec.
“Business is not a toy shop and the argument “but I’ve got it on my phone” does not wash in a secure, structured enterprise environment.”
So why the disparity between what what the business thinks it needs and what IT choses?
- IT is a cost centre. IT is responsible for delivering functionality in the most cost effective way. Business is not a toy shop and the argument “but I’ve got it on my phone” does not wash in a secure, enterprise environment.
- Business Requirements. I have never met a business vertical which understood its requirements. Requirements engineering for the systematic design of accurate software is an entire segment of the tech industry. It is complex and (mostly) poorly done. Invest in getting it right if you want to deliver better systems.
- Engagement. There is no two ways about it – IT is appalling at business engagement and business are shockingly bad at letting IT in and then articulating their needs (in order to begin the requirements process.
- Productivity. Improved productivity is more of a human problem than a technological one. New software will not make people smarter. Unless the processes and collaboration structures already exist then new binary systems will only serve to compound the problem. In such cases, software procurement becomes a very, very expensive process of sandboxing and prototyping to elicit accurate business requirements.
In order to achieve better ROI on tech investments whilst still delivering great software which improves productivity, businesses need to (a) understand where tech enables business capability in their value chains, (b) understand the development of their business’ capabilities, and (c) create a ‘value ladder’ which supports the parallel propositions of architectural development and business productivity.