Bringing IT and the Business Together

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CIOs use language, metrics and advocacy to bridge the separation between their departments and the rest of the company

Funny thing about the word “and.” You would think it would function as a connector, a word that implies the togetherness of two entities, like “stars and stripes” or “franks and beans.” Yet the phrase “IT and the business” does not work that way. Rather, it connotes separateness and difference, creating an “us and them” perception that belies the actual embedded condition of IT.

“That phrase drives me up the wall,” says Bill Blausey, CIO of Eaton Corporation. “I correct my team if they use it. We are all tied together too tightly to use terms that create separation.”

As any marginalized group will tell you, the language people use to describe it has a powerful impact on how it is perceived. But changing language is only one step. Relationship building and metrics also have roles to play in taking on this paradox: You are intimately involved in the business but considered separate and removed from it.

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