Tuesday, September 4

The role of business vs IT

Business Intelligence crosses both the business and IT boundaries -- unfortunately for some it is seen strictly as an IT initiative. Frank Buytendijk's post makes an excellent point: "you are not delivering 20 reports", you are helping "business users make really good decisions".

Check out Frank's blog site (he is the VP of Corporate Strategy at Hyperion/Oracle), *new* since Oracle's acquisition of Hyperion.

He goes on to say how the business has bargained (actually leveraged) themselves to the point of 'no responsibility' for initiatives that involve IT support. IT writes the business case for a system to improve the business. IT is responsible for project deadlines and budgets. And who has to live with the results?

The Business.

So wouldn't you want more influence, control, and input into something you have to live with for years, maybe a decade? When I want a vehicle to drive, I don't ask the mechanic to find one for me. Although I'm sure the car would be great under the hood. Because maybe I want my unique style, colour, prestige, the right growl to the engine. Aesthetics. Generally not a mechanic's forte.

So why rely on IT to be responsible for your system's initiative.

Saying that, IT brings much to the table. Such as, people who know what is technically possible, IT project managers, and support staff to keep the lights on once it is built. What they don't bring to the table, which you can, is this:
  • Business knowledge and how the business really works.
  • What information is important to you.
  • How you want to measure your business.
  • How a system should improve your processes.
  • How a system impacts the bottom line.
  • Senior business executive sponsorship.
IT initiatives that only have IT support and little business buy-in is doomed for failure. Maybe not the day the system is released; but months down the line when the business realizes the system doesn't meet their needs.

1 comment:

frank said...


Then again... this is not unique for IT. A financial controller doesn't produce financial reports, but a preparation for a decision. An HR professional doesn't introduce a health program, but something to drive absenteeism down. A marketing person doesn't select 10,000 addresses but optimizes campaign response.

Are operational people in the business concerned about the business metrics or do they do what they are told too?