I just loved this article about the state of IT support and user satisfaction (rather old, 3/2006 and long), but it's on point with a lot I've been reading and listening to recently. Honestly, it amazes me the disconnect that exists in a lot companies between the business and IT. And while some distance exists where I work, it's more-a-kin to a small creek than the Grand Canyon that divides these two elsewhere. Bill Weldon (CEO) and LaVerne Council (CIO) of Johnson & Johnson discussed this a bit in their recent Change Artists interview (free registration). They appear to understand the value that can/should be achieved by an IT department that "gets it" when it comes to business goals and direction.
All companies understand the unpinnings IT provides to facilitate business, but most I fear struggle taking the next step – where IT could assist a company become faster, smarter and ultimately more effective, not just efficient, within its core business. Something as simple as a parallel planning process where business and IT strategy are developed together as a single strategy is a start, but ultimately it means letting IT inside and developing trust between these two very different disciplines.
One of the comments I thought was right on point.
"One of the key strategies to business/IT integration is to get IT folks to understand the business itself, and how technology can contribute to the bottom line. Taking IT people more than halfway to the other side is easier than getting non-IT people to understand what we do."
We discuss this very thing around here, but it's difficult to develop consensus, action and thus, results. It's hard, but important work and remains a focus of what we do in our IT department – hopefully yours too.