The New IT Alignment Gap

By Cindy Elzinga  |  Posted 2008-11-26 Print this article Print

The gap between application development and IT operations management is escalating. With the rise of new technologies, the lack of energy spent on maximizing existing IT infrastructure, the lack of coordination between application groups and operations, and the lack of retiring legacy systems and older software, the IT alignment gap is showing signs of being widened by IT itself.

CIOs are continuously challenged to partner effectively with the enterprise’s business side. At the same time, the gap between application development and IT operations management is escalating at an alarming rate. In many organizations, this gap results in a staggering amount of unplanned cost, risk and business disruption. Here’s why:

  • Businesses expect new business functionality (using new infrastructure) to be introduced at an increased pace.
  • New technologies continue to emerge at an increased rate, and are often selected by the application development group with little or no input from operations management.
  • Little time is spent assessing and maximizing existing IT.
  • Application retirement is almost impossible, so operations must continue to support both aging legacy environments and new infrastructure and technology.
  • Budget cuts and department reductions require IT staff to work harder with fewer resources.

Most IT organizations are running too fast to evaluate and plan for the substantial changes needed to adequately support ongoing IT operations. Take, for example, the introduction of a new custom application to drive revenue or an upgrade to an ERP system.

Each requires introducing new hardware or operating systems; upgrading database management software; integrating with existing storage and network infrastructures; and establishing appropriate service levels and monitoring services.

In addition, you must address business continuity/disaster recovery and security considerations, and ensure that the data center has adequate power and cooling to support the new capabilities. And you must establish the interdependencies of new software and tools, and develop and scale the skills needed to support the new infrastructure.

Cindy Elzinga, senior vice president, IT strategy solutions at Forsythe Solutions Group, has 25-plus years of experience in building and implementing high-impact change initiatives.

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