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The “IT and the Business” Paradox

I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the word “and.” You would expect the word to function as a connector, to imply the togetherness of two entities, like “mom and pop” or “spaghetti and meatballs.” Yet the phrase “IT and the business,” which I continue to hear all the time, despite CIOs’ claims that they have done away with it, does not work that way at all. Rather, the “and” in “IT and the business” connotes separateness and difference, an “us and them” perception that has plagued IT organizations since the beginning of their existence.

We don’t say, “finance and the business” or “sales and the business” or even “HR and the business.” Why is it that IT alone is treated like an outsider? ...

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