IT and business must partner more effectively

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IT and business must partner more effectively

Find ways to cope with change.

Business leaders are increasingly involved with technology strategy and getting value for investments, so IT executives need to ensure plans are aligned for the success of the overall strategy, according to research.

In response to the need for more co-operation between IT and the business, many companies have set up cross-functional steering committees to make decisions on current and future technology projects, according to a report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by CA.

The report suggests that keeping a close eye on such projects – often related to improving customer service and loyalty – is also becoming a norm and businesses are using metrics to track initiatives and ensure they are in line with overall expectations.

Recommendations for IT leaders in supporting changing demands include finding ways for technology staff to gain business experience.

“It is not necessary to move a technology worker into a business role per se. Simpler tactics - including locating the worker in the same office as business colleagues - can accomplish the same goal,” says the report.

Keeping key IT staff is also essential in the road to recovery, says the report, so managers need to rethink long-term expertise needs and set up retention programmes.

“The greatest need is for technology workers who can take business requirements and translate them into specifications. Business requirements management is a talent that companies need to cultivate and reward,” it says.

The report also recommends looking closely at processes for assessing value of IT work to ensure the right projects get funding, as well as consolidating software and systems to eliminate needless staff effort.

“Unnecessary waste not only bloats a company’s costs but can inhibit future growth,” said Debra D’Agostino, deputy director for industry and management research in the Americas at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“As companies prepare for better economic times, it’s important to reduce unnecessary or redundant systems to make sure that business and IT strategies are not only properly aligned, but flexible enough to move quickly to meet shifting market demands,” she said.

Focusing on effective use of customer data is also part of the report’s recommendations, as it offers information that must be weighed against competitive alternatives and economic realities.

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