June 17, 2015 by Jatheon

How to Level the Playing Field Between IT and Business Users

You’re likely getting tired of hearing the word silo thrown around like a buzzword, but the term represents some very real concerns for companies perusing a holistic approach to IT management, data governance, and other companywide operational needs.

Consider the need to create equal footing for both the IT department and business users. This leveling of the playing field makes it easier to communicate needs and develop the processes that allow companies to function smoothly, whether it means data archiving, workflows, collaboration or other aspects.

The perils of miscommunication
It’s easy to look at internal operations and say they’re going well. If a business isn’t having significant, frequent difficulties in terms of IT and related processes, it’s logical to assume there aren’t big problems under the surface. The realization that implementing new software, systems or functionalities will be significantly more complicated than expected may only come once such a project has started. When a lack of communication and connectivity is present, it makes any sort of major advancement or progress difficult and, sometimes, impossible.

“A strategy of total IT governance is expected to become the norm for businesses in the coming years.”

As Information Age pointed out, a strategy of total IT governance, as opposed to disjointed or fragmented efforts at IT management, is expected to become the norm for businesses in the coming years. This robust, holistic approach will include everything from internal data archive solutions to the customer- and client-facing systems. Getting everyone in an organization on the same page is, therefore, critical to developing a successful, long-term IT governance strategy for the future.

What to focus on and fix
The concept of IT governance is still developing, and an ironclad, top-to-bottom list of requirements or rules simply doesn’t exist. However, there are certainly areas where businesses can focus their efforts and become more successful. Breaking down those departmental silos between business and IT users is an obvious starting point. This concept requires time and effort but little spending and sets the stage for future development. Increasing the frequency and quality of communication helps each side better understand each other and puts everyone in line with business expectations.

In a similar vein, Information Age suggested conducting a thorough internal assessment and identifying gaps in technology, processes and teams and departments. If enhancing communication between the IT department and the rest of a company is an early priority, it may be easier to tackle other areas marked as needing improvement by the assessment. Research and consulting firm AT Kearney said the first step toward strong IT governance is to view the IT department as a business asset that’s relevant to the whole company. This approach can help boost communication and ultimately allow everyone to use the same playbook in terms of communication and decision-making. With a communal attitude and the time and resources available to assess performance, break down silos and improve communication, an IT governance strategy is in the grasp of a wide variety of companies.

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