5 ways to build trust between business and IT

Most organizational dysfunction is the symptom of a greater problem: Business-IT trust has broken down. Here’s how smart CIOs repair those rifts — or foster trust from the get-go.

5 ways to build trust between business and IT
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You’re not invited to strategic meetings. When you make recommendations, business leaders seek second opinions from consultants, their peers, or the latest magazine article. Users insist they have to have their chosen brand of software because they’re sure your standardized apps won’t meet their needs. Meanwhile, your IT team complains about the requests they get, and wants your permission to refuse or ignore them.

It’s not a pretty picture, but all these familiar frustrations are symptoms of the same problem: Trust has broken down between IT and the business.

“The moment you have a situation where there is pressure, that’s when trust issues can start,” says Krishna Tammana, CTO of data integration company Talend. “Why does this happen? It is the amount of demand on IT, and the budgets of IT are never correlated. I’ve never seen a situation where IT had enough budget for the number of things the business wanted.”

Krishna Tammana, CTO, Talend Talend

Krishna Tammana, CTO, Talend

At the same time, some IT departments’ tendency to keep failures and uncertainties to themselves can exacerbate the problem. “The root cause for trust is transparency,” Tammana says. “When business leaders see that IT is trying to help the business, and is willing to acknowledge its own strengths and weaknesses, the relationship is very trusting and very solid. The moment any of these falls off, everything becomes very tense.”

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