The distinction between IT and business is an often used concept in a lot of disciplines from Enterprise Architecture (EA) over data quality management to Master Data Management (MDM). While it may be a good concept to use when assigning responsibilities and finding out who should be driving what I have personally always kind of disliked the concept. It’s a concept practically only used by the IT side and in my eyes IT is part of the business just as much as marketing, sales, accounting and all the other departments are.
So, now when business is going social, how does that affect the IT and business distinction?
Social business is in large parts done today in the enterprises around without involving the internal IT department. The use of data and functionality in social business done with so called systems of engagement is much more external focused than the internal focused nature of the traditional systems of record.
However, if enterprises are to harvest the fruits of systems of engagement it must be done by linking the new systems of engagement to the old systems of record and that means involving internal IT. Please do this without dividing the enterprise into IT and business again. Please be more social this time.
Great points. I have always mapped IT under the high level Business Function of ‘Provide Supporting Resources and Services’, together with other supporting roles, such as HR and Accounts.
In my experience, when the IT split occurs it is caused a) by IT taking too much ownership over business elements and b) by the business, not just delegating but abdicating, too many responsibilities to IT.
The Business/IT relationship is symbiotic. Neither can exist without the other and both need to fully play their part. When they get it right, it is not just social, it is highly sociable.
Great points Henrik.
Like you I’ve always disliked the term ‘IT and the business’ and the thinking that goes with it.
IT is part of the business – nothing more, nothing less – just like other depts such as Finance, HR, Marketing etc.
Perhaps a simple way to change this way of thinking would be to start using the term: ‘IT and the rest of the business’?