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Posted December 11, 2009
tighter integration of IT with other parts of the firm
The author points to a common feature of many firms - a gap between an IT department and the rest of the firm. Not just at the executive suite, but also extending several layers down in management. One typical reason is that IT management often hails from an engineering or scientific background, while non-IT management comes from a financial, business or legal background. The book tries to bridge the gap by furnishing a few best practices.
One that I found especially cogent was a tighter partnership between IT and the other departments. Often the latter might simply not be aware of what IT can do for them. Ignorance can be cured! Another advantage of this stronger coupling is that it helps IT protect portions of its budget during regular reviews, when other departments can come into bat for it.
The book also talks about infrastructure. This can be considered a factorisation of the narrative, so that it cleaves cleanly between discussing infrastructure and the other uses and activities of the IT department. Regarding the former, the author has found that many firms simply neglect it. When infrastructure is working, it is usually meant to be invisible, and hence the tendency to overlook and underfund its maintenance. The book advocates a more proactive approach that can ultimately improve the overall firm's performance and adaptability.
You can also choose to use this factorisation in a pragmatic way. It is difficult and hence risky to try to change too many things in the firm at the same time. An alternative is to perhaps build up the infrastructure using the book's recommendations. Then, if this is successful, you can turn to the other sections of the book about the IT department.
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