McKendrick: Line-of-business types get involved in IT infrastructure. Is this a good thing?

ATN-300InsightaaS:  ZDNet is a source of many interesting blogs, including the "Service Oriented" blog authored by Joe McKendrick, which provides a thoughtful perspective on IT management issues. In this post, McKendrick looks at IBM research showing that firms where IT and business collaborate on infrastructure planning are better prepared to meet the requirements of cloud, mobility, collaboration and analytics - and that these areas are in need of attention, as fewer than 10% of IBM's survey respondents reported that they have fully-ready infrastructure in these areas.

InsightaaS is a believer in these results - they are consistent with Techaisle data that we have analyzed (see the figure at the bottom of this page) in which a mixed audience of IT and business managers defined collaboration and analytics as "business led" solutions, and Big Data and mobility as "IT/business collaborative" solution areas. The influence of business decision makers on these solutions argues that they should be included in infrastructure planning in these areas - and yet, this can be a difficult step for IT to take. Nevertheless, McKendrick believes, it is a step that should be taken; ultimately, "IT managers and professionals as well [will evolve] from caretakers of code and systems to advisory roles to their businesses." The IT management objective is to maintain a strong executive presence in discussions where "the business is taking a closer look at IT infrastructure."

Should finance and purchasing managers get more intimately involved in planning and specifying IT infrastructure? A recent study suggests this can deliver a lot of advantages to the business.

That's the finding of a new survey of 750 IT executives, conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, in conjunction with Oxford Economics. The report's authors, Nate Dyer, Pamela Hurwitch, Eric Lesser and Jacqueline Woods, observe that line-of-business managers are increasingly getting involved in IT infrastructure discussions.

Forty percent of companies in the study indicate that non-IT people will be involved in making infrastructure decisions in areas such as end-user devices, security and cloud computing. However, fewer than one-third of IT executives say they are effectively collaborating with line-of-business leaders to provide IT infrastructure solutions to support their businesses.

Organizations that encourage collaborative IT planning  are more likely to outperform their peers across several business outcomes, the study suggests...

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