Oct 082014

From the beginning of data processing in the 1950s, an "us/them" dynamic has existed between business and IT organizations. Since then, attempts by CIOs and business executives to cross the cultural barriers have met with varying degrees of success.

Organizations intent on building trust and partnership between business and IT face these challenges:

  1. IT’s culture and processes. The IT organization’s relationship with the business is IT-centric rather than business centric.
  2. Business accountability failure. When the IT function is IT centric, business management does not understand its role or responsibilities in the partnership. Both the business and IT sides are responsible for applying IT effectively throughout the organization.
  3. CIOs are not providing the leadership. The CIO sets the tone and should be charged with getting business and IT to work together to achieve organizational goals.
  4. CEOs are not setting the stage. The CEO’s role is to determine the organization's strategic direction and collaborates with both IT and business to meet business objectives.
  5. Lack of capability to anticipate and manage change. Specifically, a lack of “Dynamic Capability” in business and IT.
  6. Inability to deal with turbulence and need for quicker response. A cohesive business/IT team can effectively prepare for, react to, and leverage a changing business climate.
  7. Explosion of IT outside of the IT organization. "Shadow IT" and the cloud can muddy the business-IT-supplier relationship. Complicating matters are the lack of formal relationships with non-IT-organization providers. Both business and technology turbulence makes this even muddier.

Some CEO and CIO initiatives to build trust and partnerships include making governance a priority, employing agile techniques to better engage the business, and implementing SLAs to better define business expectations and IT performance.

An upcoming issue of Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editors Bob Benson and Piet Ribbers will address the challenges and strategies adopted by CEOs and CIOs to build trust and partnership. We welcome examples of these strategies — both successful and unsuccessful — and the resulting impact on the business/IT relationship.

Topics of discussion may include (but are not limited to the following):

  • What is the current status of the business/IT relationship in terms of trust and partnership?
  • What are the contributing factors to the good and bad side of the current relationship between business and IT?
  • What barriers exist to building trust and partnership?
  • How does business and technology turbulence affect the business/IT relationship?
  • To what extent are cloud, business-provided IT, and "do it yourself" IT suppliers complicating the trust and partnership relationship?
  • To what extent are the barriers suggested in the above questions in play?
  • What has proven successful in overcoming the barriers to strengthening trust and partnership?
  • What strategies have worked or not worked in bridging the business/IT gap?
  • To what extent is the problem of trust/partnership extended to non-IT-organization providers (e.g., cloud, sourcers, do-it-yourself IT)?
  • What does the future hold?
  • How are IT providers (e.g., cloud) included in these strategies?
  • How can techniques like devops help or hinder the process of relationship building?


Please respond to bbenson[at]cutter[dot]com, with a copy to cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com no later than 24 October 2014 and include an extended abstract and a short article outline showing major discussion points.

ARTICLE DEADLINE: 1 December 2014


Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approximately 2,500-3,000 words long, plus whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact CITJ’s Group Publisher, Christine Generali at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com. Editorial guidelines are available online.


Christine Generali

Christine Generali is a Group Publisher for Cutter Consortium - responsible for the editorial direction and content management of Cutter's flagship publication, Cutter IT Journal.


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