5 Steps to transform IT from order-taker to business partner

Let's face it, IT often suffers from a bad reputation. And in many cases it's well deserved. Over the years many IT leaders attempted to change IT's reputation by empowering other departments to dictate what IT should be doing — and in the process they became order-takers. And the portfolio of projects from well-meaning business leaders mushroomed. To cope with the overwhelming demand, IT established rigorous process around governance, forming committees with the power to determine what IT works on. And almost inevitably, many of these committees are bogged down by politics — meaning IT is not always working on the right things — and at the same time slowing down the whole pace of change. No wonder then that many people across the business spectrum view their own IT group as a slow, unresponsive impediment to getting things done. 

But CIOs the world over are actively engaged with their leadership teams in changing IT's reputation. The goal for these CIOs is to shift IT from order-taker to business-partner, helping shape future business strategy and using technology to increase the value their organization brings to the end customers of the business.
 
This transition is not easy. Nor is it guaranteed to work. Sometimes an IT organization's employees are simply unwilling or unable to embrace the change. Sometimes the reputation of IT is so sullied that nothing short of a cold-reboot will work (organizations going down this route will start by outsourcing all of IT, then they gradually hire back key skills needed to derive more effective business outcomes).
 
Fortunately CIOs can learn from others who have travelled this road before. Over the years Forrester has tracked many best practices and documented them in research reports. In a short series of blog posts, I'm going to share with you the five most important steps to make the transition from order-taker to business partner.
 
The first post, "Step 1 — Change where we work," comes out next week. And if you can't wait for my blogs to be published, you can always join me for a webinar on this very topic this Friday, September 20th, 2013.* 
 
In the meantime, I'll leave you with one key principle from the series:
Our leadership philosophy shapes value perceptions
 
 
*Fees may apply — check with your Forrester account manager or CSR. If you are reading this after the webinar, you may be able to download a copy of the webinar using the link provided above. 

Comments

warming up to the cold reboot

Hi Nigel - I'm looking forward to following your upcoming series of blog posts. "Order taker" and "business partner" seem like nearly opposite roles - it's no wonder that IT organizations are struggling for strategies to cope. I'm particularly curious about the "cold reboot" strategy and the experiences of businesses that have tried it. I'd really be interested in learning what led them to take such a drastic step, how it's worked out for them, and how you would advise companies considering it.