Nov 28 2011

7 Questions to Get IT and Biz on the Same Page

Business staff and IT staff aren’t always on the same page. Use these 7 questions to find harmony.

If you find it difficult to align your IT staff’s efforts with business goals, or see that IT staff don’t understand the philosophy by which you run your business, interject these questions in your next conversation with them.

You don’t need to talk technology in this exchange, but communicate clearly the goals, objectives and targets you have in mind for your business and why you need the IT team’s cooperation to get there.

1. What is the next growth area for the business?

Knowing the target is half the battle. Make sure your IT team knows where the company’s bull’s-eye is.

2. What is contributing to the growth of the business?

Everyone wants to be part of an initiative that is innovating and expanding. Find out what IT thinks is important to the future of the company and clarify any misunderstandings.

3. What needs to be done to accelerate growth, and can IT make this process better?

Once you’ve nailed down the growth areas and contributors, make it clear how IT fits in this plan.

4. What areas of work most need to be improved and made more efficient?

How crucial are these challenges? These should be action items that IT staff can walk away with and act upon — this should make their contributions clear and concrete.

5. What risks or threats potentially expose the business to loss?

How important is it to mitigate these risks? It’s important that everyone in the company helps to build a house of bricks, not sticks. A discussion with IT about vulnerabilities could open your eyes to new threats.

6. How does the company differentiate itself to its customers, and what role does technology play at this firm and at competing firms?

Make sure everyone in your company understands the company’s value proposition and unique differentiators.

7. What is the trade-off for taking on various projects? What is the opportunity cost?

Ask this question before making project decisions to avoiding decision-making in a vacuum.

When IT works with business goals in mind, all departments come out on top. Build the bridge between business and IT sooner, rather than later, by starting regular discussions with IT staff.


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