For decades we are talking about closing the gap between business and IT, but the gap is still as wide as it was.
In the beginning of the ERP era, we focused on aligning Business Processes and Core Systems, but in most enterprises we failed.
SOA was the next alignment promise: defining the SOA Services in Business boundaries instead of Technical boundaries, should narrow the gap. However, despite of SOA Business Value (Agility and Reuse) in most enterprises, the large Business-IT Gap remained as large as it was.
The IT Community aimed at the next alignment attempt: SOA is technical and BPM is its Business related complement.
Will the current BPM based alignment attempt succeed? I do not know, but Nick Heath's article titled: Stop doing what the vendors tell you, CIOs told, published in Tech Republic, suggests that the root of the problem is not Technological.
Stop Doing What the vendors Tell You
Nick Heath's article is based on Gartner's CIOs survey. Gartner surveyed more than 2,000 CIOs about their plans for the coming year.Heath's summary of the survey result is: "The problem with CIOs is they don't appear to share the singular focus of their organization. In general, Corporate IT strategies are largely unchangeable and loaded with generic statements about cost and service levels."
In other words:
1. IT priorities are not in accordance with Strategic Business priorities.
2. IT Strategies are inflexible and static. The CIOs do not change strategies when the Business is adapting to changes.
It is not because of SOA or BPM or ERP that Business and IT Alignment is not improving.
The reasons are closely related to perception:
How IT professionals evalute their department's contribution to their Corporate Business (They think that they contribute a lot) vs. the way Business professionals perceived their Enterprise IT (You can not do Business with them and you can not do Business without them, Inflexible, not aligned with Corporate Goals and Missions).
The Gap could be narrowed, if and only if, IT professionals and Business people views of the other team DNA and Role will be changed.
The Risk of Consumerization and Could Computing
Consumerization may reduce IT and CIOs responsibilities and budgets, because users could bring their Own Devices and Software.
Cloud Computing could also narrow IT scope, because non-IT managers can buy IT services and systems directly from Cloud Vendors.
The risk is Chaos or loosing Control of IT Systems.
IT Vendors and CIOs
Gartner's recommendation to CIOs, as described by Nick Heath, is not new: IT Vendors could shift IT goals away from the Corporate goals and strategies.
Few years ago I wrote few posts on possible Vendors conflict of interests e.g.
SOA VDS – AmberPoint Example, ESB for an Orphan.
CIOs not stop always from doing what the vendors tell them, but they should understand when it is proper to act according to a vendor recommendation and when it is not.
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