Have you ever heard the head of sales, marketing, or manufacturing describe any other part of the business as his or her customers?

Have you ever heard the head of sales, marketing, or manufacturing talk about “aligning” those functions with the business?

The only people in any organisation who ever describe anyone except the people who buy the organisation’s products and services as “customers” are IT people.

The only people in the organisation who ever talk about “aligning with the business” are IT people.

Maybe the head of sales has talked about aligning her function with a new strategy or a new value proposition, or the head of manufacturing has talked about aligning with new key performance indicators-but aligning with the business?

That view can’t be good for IT.

It is a legacy of the era in which the “data processing” organization was almost entirely populated with people who had very little day-to-day connection with the rest of the business.

Those days are gone, but the mind-set subtly persists, and it separates IT from the rest of the business in an unhealthy way.

What executives ultimately want from IT is not alignment, nor being treated like a customer.

Executives want business outcomes.

Increased sales, increased margins, and increased market share are examples of the outcomes that executives want.

If the IT team is talking about and helping to deliver those outcomes, then “alignment with the business” is a nonissue.

But if alignment is the goal and the topic under discussion, then the IT team is in effect showing that it is not focused on the outcomes that matter.

In a nutshell: IT is an important part of the business and must focus on business outcomes.

Originally published at https://www.henricodolfing.com.

Written by

I help C-level executives in the financial service industry with interim management and recovering troubled technology projects.

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