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IT/business alignment standards and sources

As an IT Manager in a bank I very frequently deal with misunderstandings and problems regarding segregation of responsibilities/duties between IT sector and business sectors. Much of the responsibilities are "transferred" to IT that are the responsibilities of the business people. Can you direct me to some literature, standards or other material that deals with those problems? As an IT Manager in a bank I very frequently deal with misunderstandings and problems regarding segregation of responsibilities/duties between IT sector and business sectors. Much of the responsibilities are "transferred" to IT that are the responsibilities of the business people. Can you direct me to some literature, standards or other material that deals with those problems?

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It is so often the case that IT folk are drawn into business areas or taking responsibility for issues which really should be dealt with by business people. Sometimes it's tempting to overstep the mark because IT professionals are often more analytical and process-focused and potentially better equipped to solve business issues. This rarely achieves a successful outcome. The IT team needs to engage with the business organization to ensure that it "owns" the solution. Anything else is destined for failure.

Two key issues
IT needs to be clear on role and responsibilities. The best book I know on the subject is Value-Driven IT Management, by Ian Aitken. He shares some great insights and points out that IT folk can be their own worst enemy in not ensuring the business addresses issues directly. This is an excellent book from a very experienced practictioner.

Secondly, excellent project management (clear communication and management process) is essential to ensure the difficult agenda items (usually business issues!) don't get side-tracked by technical issues. There are loads of sources of good books in this area.

The key for IT folk is to focus the whole organization on the right business solution, not just the system.

This was first published in December 2004

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