Jinfo BlogReal World Reflections on Working With IT

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By Steve Bynghall

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The Research Focus "Strategic Alignment of Information Services and IT" features a number of case studies, research-driven articles and personal accounts of working with IT.  Steve Bynghall, co-producer of the Focus, highlights some of the recent articles as the Focus comes to a close.


Research Focus: Strategic Alignment of IS and ITI am currently involved in a large digital project which is going well but there is one small niggly little persistent technical issue that's annoying me. The initial response from my normally fabulous IT contact at the digital agency has been very frustrating and I admit, I do feel like firing off a strongly worded email...

But instead of being a grumpy diva, I've tried to take a step back and consider things from his point of view. It is a bit frustrating, but we've now got a call planned this week to try and work out a sensible approach to the issue.

Finding better ways to work with IT has really been the point of the "Strategic Alignment of IS and IT" Research Focus. I know I've found it very interesting to be involved and I'd like to thank the Jinfo team, my fellow producer Scott Vine and all the wonderful contributors who've made this Focus so rich and informative.

Sharing Personal Insights

Even though the Research Focus is now at it's end, we've gone out with a late flourish with some articles which provide real world reflections about working with IT. These case studies, research and articles written from personal experience show there is still work to do on building that relationship, but that in some organisations real progress has been made.

A recent webinar and accompanying article by Irene Koren on "How Mature is Your Relationship with the IT Department?" details a practical model to assess the maturity of the IS/IT relationship. The model includes six key variables including "attention of leadership" and "linking information work to business outcomes", and can be a useful starting point to improve strategic alignment between the departments.

Another article details the first set of Results from Jinfo Research into Relationships Between IS and IT which looks at the context of the relationship between IT and IS in areas such as activity and structure. The second part of the research covers project work and the elements which contribute to good and bad relationships. In contrast to the Jinfo survey which draws on responses from IS functions, I've written an article titled "What is the Broader Agenda for IT?"which draws on different surveys of the views of CIOs. The article tries to show the wider context for IT decision-making.

Building on Experiences Across Industries

Meanwhile experts from different organisations have shared their experiences, insights and lessons learnt. Steve Perry from EY considers "How Working with IT has Evolved" based on working in knowledge management for over 30 years for various different organisations. He details increasing alignment between IT and KM in the organisations, with opportunities for KM and IS professionals to help through the final hurdles.

Digital workplace consultant Sam Marshall draws on his own time at Unilever and working with organisations to detail "How KM and IT Can Get Along".IS professionals have differing priorities and often policies, and he suggests some practical tools to bridge that gap.

We also have two good case studies written by Sophie Alexander. One covers how the LORD Corporation forges close relationships between IS and IT, where the two departments have collaborated on projects such as enabling the vendor selection process and providing content for SharePoint repositories. The case study also shows how IS professionals act as connectors, matching IT analysts to a service used by the innovation function.

In the other case study, we learn how Cargill works in tandem with IT and strategy teams. Anne Rogers has ensured that regular touchpoints with IT help develop strong relationships. Anne says it helps to see IT as your best friend.

We hope you enjoy this strong end to the Focus.

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