9 Ways IT Can Ruin Its Relationship With The Business

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Aligning IT and business units sounds fantastic in theory. But when the rubber meets the road, IT leaders face unique challenges as they strive to engage and collaborate with business-side colleagues. InformationWeek surveyed 100 IT leaders about their biggest mistakes. Here's what they revealed about the ever-evolving relationship between business and IT.

IT leaders at large enterprises, government agencies, and healthcare organizations are all facing pressure to become agents of digital transformation. In fact, Gartner recently issued a call to public-sector CIOs to promote a compelling vision for digital transformation and make change inclusive across the business.

This is a call-to-arms private-sector IT leaders have been hearing for some time as well, and thought leaders have even started referring to this unprecedented intersection of IT and business as "the new IT."

It all sounds fantastic in theory, but when the rubber meets the road IT leaders face unique challenges as they strive to engage and collaborate with their business-side colleagues.

[ How do you keep your best workers happy? Read 5 IT Talent, Staffing Fails To Avoid. ]

When we polled IT leaders about their biggest mistakes in the past 12 months, challenges in working with the business emerged as a major source of pain. Here, we take a look at nine mistakes IT leaders said they've made in their efforts to align technology goals with business needs. These include the usual faux pas, such as failing to involve business stakeholders early enough in a project. But the list also reveals many unintended consequences of letting the business get too involved in the technology decision-making and implementation process.

The mistakes we're highlighting here are drawn from responses to our annual InformationWeek Elite 100 Executive Research Survey and have been anonymized to protect the innocent – or the guilty, as the case may be.

Every year, InformationWeek releases the Elite 100 -- a ranking of the nation's most innovative users of business technology. As part of the process, we also conduct the survey, which offers a unique glimpse into the strategies of these 100 large, leading-edge IT organizations.

The survey, which is open only to Elite 100 applicants, polled US-based companies and higher education institutions that have $250 million or more in revenue. Subsidiaries with revenues below $250 million may apply for the Elite 100 if their parent company has qualifying revenue and their parent company did not apply. Federal, state, county, and local or municipal US agencies are also eligible to apply.

Once you've reviewed the eight mistakes highlighted here, let us know about your own experiences. Have you faced similar challenges as an IT professional? Are there other pitfalls IT leaders need to avoid as they seek to work more closely with the business? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

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