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5 Tips for Managing the Perceptions of Information Technology

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-09-09 Print this article Print

Aligning business with information technology practices and management can be a tricky business. Baseline gets some advice from Forrester Research on how to best meld the functional aspects of business with key technology role players and everyday practices. Some of these tips include business metrics, pushing IT down the org chart and making business users more independent from IT.

Making a good impression on the business can make the difference in how easily IT gets budget items approved, how well favors are called in, and how smoothly IT staffers and management works with their line-of-business counterparts.

A recent paper written by Forrester Research analyst Bobby Cameron, with colleagues Alex Cullen and Brandy Worthington, tackled this perception issue head on. As Cameron explained in “Improving The Perception of IT Requires a Focus on Business Trust, Not Just Technology,”  Forrester has found that IT’s image among business leaders is improving, but it could continue to use some help. In an IT governance survey released by Forrester earlier this year, 56 percent of respondents reported an improvement in IT perception over the last year.

 “The relationship between IT and the business — and the perception of IT — improves when the business organizations feel that they can count on IT to deliver what the business wants, when they have been told to expect it,” Cameron writes, explaining that positive perceptions and trust in IT “boils down to” two important tenants.

The first is that IT processes remain consistent and predictable. The second is that IT is able to clearly communicate how it meets its commitments to the business.

Cameron suggests five specific ways enterprise IT can work to improve how they follow through on these tenants and buff its image within the organization in the process, and they are as follows:
1. Align IT project portfolio managers with business structures rather than IT structures.

Cameron is a big fan of using IT demand management (DM) to align technology departments with the business. He believes that there is a disconnect between how IT is organized to get work done and how business units are structured.

“To make this happen, the senior leadership in IT DM, the portfolio managers, must align with the business organizations — which are organized based on some combination of product, geography, market, or business function,” he comments.

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