Aligning Business and Technology with People

Mike Schaffner posted an interesting article titled “Hiring the Right / Wrong IT People to Achieve Alignment” in which he pointed at a recent article by Dr. George E. Strouse titled “Are You Hiring the Wrong IT Staff to Achieve Your Alignment Goals?” that appeared on CIO.com. Check both articles out.

An excerpt from Dr. Strouse’s article sum’s the topic up nicely:

The real problem underlying the IT business alignment conundrum is that we’re not hiring the right people in IT. The right people need strong backgrounds in both business and technology. Most IT hiring managers place too much emphasis on strong technology backgrounds.

As regular readers may know, I’ve written about this topic a few times (see here, here and here for a few samples).

I’ve spent a good portion of my career working with organization’s trying to align their business strategy with their technology. I’ve found is that the difference between success and failure in this activity is found within the people that the organization has hired.

The majority of these organizations who were successful had employees within the IT organization that could ‘speak’ to the business side of the company. The IT group wasn’t strictly technologists…they were technologists with business backgrounds. Those organizations that struggled with aligning their technology with their business goals were the ones that placed an emphasis on technology knowledge over business knowledge.

Mike Schaffner relates an interesting antecdote on this topic:

I once had a CEO tell me that one of the things she wanted in IT was people that “talk like us” meaning they understand business issues and can explain things in business terms rather than just business terms.

I’ve had similar conversations with CxO’s as well. They are tired of hearing acronyms and technology buzzwords…many just want to understand how technology can help the business achieve it’s goals.

Interesting things to think about…as are the Related Articles below. Enjoy!

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FlugThe Cost of Bad Data | Aligning Technology, Strategy, People & ProjectsYohan Launay Recent comment authors
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Yohan Launay
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Hi Eric,
Interesting article.
I have had similar problems and feedback here in France.

– Yohan

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[…] Mike hit upon a subject in the article that i’ve written about in the past (see Aligning Business & Technology with People and Information Technology Leadership & Alignment for examples).  In the article, Mike writes […]

Flug
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Very interesting theme, i think also that cause of business and IT mis-alignment is that IT is not hiring the right kind of people. As a german developper i would say that the luck of technical knowledge of the IT produkt ‘s managers leads to problems in the company.on the other side technologists must have business backgrounds.