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Trust and Partnership: Strategic IT Management for Turbulent Times by Robert J. Benson

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CHAPTER 11

Enterprise IT Capabilities

Too many books, articles, academics, and consultants take the view that difficulties and distrust between IT and business (and disappointment in the IT value received) are the fault of the IT organization and the various processes used to plan, manage, and execute IT. The “fix” to them is to upgrade the processes, restructure the IT organization, and focus more attention on the business. “If IT could only understand the business better!” Perhaps it is described as a governance problem as well, where governance is meant as the way business controls what IT does and determines on what IT spends. And, perhaps, the solution is viewed as business and IT becoming partners in the common goals of superior IT value and superior response to turbulence and uncertainty.

Three problems complicate this simple perspective of an IT organization–focused solution to what ails the business/IT relationship. First, this is indeed an IT-centric perspective. As we pointed out earlier, partnership requires partners, and both business and IT have to be capable of acting as partners. Somehow, even in the expression of “partnership,” it seems as though the initiative and energy and structure has to come from IT. The evidence is the strong tendency to view the processes that connect business and IT as “IT processes.” Second, every enterprise is in the throes of an enormous dispersion of IT activities, both within the enterprise and in the supplier/customer environments ...

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