by Chris Potts

Is The Business The Enemy?

Jan 29, 20092 mins
IT Leadership

A CIO’s blog calls IT people to arms, to fight a ‘guerrilla war’ to be valued more.  The enemy, it seems, are some other people called ‘the business’.

“Time for CIOs to go on the offensive” reads the headline of a story in this week’s Computing, taken from a CIO’s blog entitled “A guerrilla war for IT”.  In it, he says that:

It’s a time for IT to come into its own at last and show just what it can do to catalyse, stimulate and deliver real bottom-line numbers.

He goes on to say:

I propose using a carefully managed, highly mobile and targeted pattern of unconventional warfare using small groups of highly skilled and motivated individuals (cross functional). More of an insurgency targeting multiple objectives than a costly and time-consuming approach regulated by overpowering methodologies and layers of command. I’m calling it Guerrilla IT….

So far, so good.  Until he reveals who he thinks the enemy is…

It is my bitter experience that Guerrilla IT will be met, very rapidly, by Gorilla Business.

Now, I was warming to his idea of ‘guerrilla IT’, until I discovered that the enemy are the people he calls ‘the business’.

It’s true that there are companies where the IT people do not feel like an integral part of the business they work for. If so, this is usually indicative of a fractured operating model for IT in which a mythical ‘gap’ has been allowed to open up between the IT people and everyone else, with tactics then put in place to ‘bridge’ it.

Therefore the enemy of any IT people who are struggling to make visible the value they bring is the operating model in which they are being made to work. That model may indeed need some ‘guerrilla’ tactics to undo the damage, depending how deeply it’s entrenched, and move onto the next generation.

But in doing so the entire business, including everyone in IT, is on the same side.