As IT manager I've seen dozens of examples of organizations where IT is a stone towards the progress and the evolution of your business, and since ten years ago, when I started managing departments of IT I hear in every event I've been related to IT management the gap that exists between the IT department and the business...and after ten years the problem is still there if not worse, so, what's the root problem?

First I think that we have to understand that an IT department has two primary functions: first the implantation of technology, often so complex that requires specialists that have a great lack of social skills. The second is the integration of this technologies in the company and to provide the bridge between the technology and the business processes that use them, and maybe that kind of role is the one that are missed in a great number of IT departments.

The specialization in the computer technology have created an structure based on IT knowledge rather than business knowledge, and the chiefs on top of them sometimes they are no different. Most of the IT managers nowadays are more computer gurus than business leaders. How can we solve this problem? How can we reduce the gap between the business needs and the output of the IT department?

First we need to establish what are we expect from IT. I'm not want to dive into the mug of the discussion between IT as an innovation enabler or IT as a commodity, but it's clear that the IT department, as another business area, needs to be standardize, measured... We need to 'industrialize' the IT converting the department into something predictable and reliable.

To do that change you have to build the new IT into standards, like ITIL or ISO20.000, that will give you a methodology to standardize the way technology is handled to the business. It's not as hard as you may think. The first step is to create a roadmap to define different milestones and goals, focusing on small steps; to define them I recommend first of all taking a look to the ISO 20000 standard, that give you an overview in 20 pages of what are the primary things you need to define IT as a service, and as a second step is to find a good captain to make the change happen.

Of course, there is a lot of good consulting companies that can guarantee the success of the transition, but you have to understand that IT is as any other business, so ask for results, ask for profits the same way any other division of your company can give you, and don't hesitate to put the bar high, I'm sure your IT department is able to accept it's role on the organization.

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