How to bridge the gap between IT and Business, and Five Questions for Business Owners & CEOs

Oct 03, 2013 Comments Off by

There’s an interesting article here on the Harvard HBR blog that talks about bridging the gaps between IT and the rest of a business.

Key points from the article… 

  1.  Quit making the same mistakes over and over again.
  2. Find common ground on medium-term issues.
  3. Finally, companies should ask, “How do we expect IT to help us compete?”

Here’s an extract:  “Importantly, the critical investment is less in any particular technology and more in building organizational capabilities. For while few information technologies qualify as strategic — after all, they will be woefully out-of-date in three to five years — developing the ability to keep pace with the technology curve in these areas must be viewed as strategic.”

Smarter use of IT can give you strategic advantages, especially when it comes to doing business online.  Remember, it’s not the specific information technology that is strategic. It is  how you use it.  And even more importantly, how your customers use it.  Or not.

Five Questions for Business Owners & CEOs

  1. Are your choices in IT systems adding to your flexibility and agility OR  restricting and stifling you from making changes you need to make?
  2. Are your IT systems helping your business become more integrated OR are they making you more disintegrated and fragmented?
  3. Do you have IT systems your customers and staff want to use OR are they bypassing your systems because the systems are too useless, time-consuming, complex, hard or inconvenient?
  4. Are you locking yourself in to old IT systems that add to your baggage and legacy risks?
  5. In every moment of truth that your customers enjoy or endure, do your  IT systems give your customers a better experience when they interact with you?

These days, IT systems  play a critical role in business, even though it may be ‘behind the scenes’ and taken for granted.

Business operating online pay a huge cost for poor, inefficient or ineffective IT systems.  One of the tasks for the business owner or CEO is to accurately establish what the business needs and what IT is delivering.  These are the GAPS. Some businesses only have small gaps, but many/most suffer from massive chasms. These gaps are very costly, both in real waste and huge opportunity costs.  And the big problem is that your IT people are often the wrong people to ask. There’s a chapter on this in my book Catching Digital.

The Digital Age (imho) is NOT about technology, but what technology enables people to do. Businesses still need to select and use technology wisely. In any business, IT is usually part of the problem and also part of the solution. There’s a lot more about this elsewhere on this website and in Catching Digital.

Helping businesses (large and small) to bridge those gaps and plan a better future is what I do.

It goes way beyond the business’ website…  but how well a business website  integrates into the rest of the business is often an very good indication of the size of the critical gaps that affect customers.

Do you know any business owner or CEO who has challenges in this area?  
How about you? Please let me know if you’d like some help. It’s what I do.

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