The IT Department as your Business Partner

A couple weeks ago I had the honor to visit a multinational with activities in the electronic devices segment. They produce and sell beautiful items we all know and probably use in our daily activities. This conversation was scheduled with the IT Director of Europe and his associate. The main subject of the day: data management and the usage of tooling for data management. With this perpective it is always interesting to have the IT at the table. This IT department claims also the fact that they are Business Partner. When we went ahead with the conversation about the applications and the use of these applications the three following items came up: authorization, business use and fear. They told me:

“Business users are a risk for the accuracy of the companies data and therefore every mass transaction or mass change in (master) data must go via the IT Department. The IT Department will execute this transaction for you.”

This scared me. Is this the way we want it within our organization? Can we conclude that this is a efficient and cost-reducing way of working? Is this a way of protecting the companies data? I am aware of the fact that a lot of companies deal with this kind of problems and challenges and I am not taking this lightly however in my humble opinion this cannot be the way it is supposed to be. How do we overcome these challenges and fix this problems?

IT Department

In my opinion the IT department has the important role to facilitate everything within the IT landscape. From maintaining the applications and tooling all the way to securing the companies IT landscape. But they cannot interfere with daily data movement activities. The knowledge of the tooling which is used for this kind of activities has to be diverted towards the business and not be kept a secret within the IT department. Where is the credo: Ne sutor supra crepidam applied? Or in English: Let the cobbler stick to his last. Enabling the business users to use the tool in their area of expertise is a must to gain efficiency you once reached out for. Every department has their own data, their own process and their own competences.

Trust is a major component for success.

How are we going to make this work? Installing a BPO (business process owner) is in my opinion the most relevant key to success. The responsibility and the feeling of responsibility is no longer on the shoulders of IT and the business process owner is authorized to push the final button. Data governance is in place and both parties are happy.

Conclusion

My message to IT is; be an enabler of the process and not part of the process. Your partner is the business and the business users. You are “the business partner”. They depend on you to keep the applications they need, running. Business users cannot do their job without you supporting them. I am sure that once the awareness is in place for both parties, you will live happily ever after…

If you like to discuss this topic with me? Feel free to reply to this article below. This post is also written as a personal opinion and has an earlier post on my LinkedIn page.