Pragmatic Cloud: "…and business always wants it in a week"

I agree, Chris O’Malley, business should align with IT

Recently I read a post by Chris O’Malley, Nimsoft CEO wherein he makes the point that, while IT must align with their business consumers, business people must also make an effort to make their partnership with IT work. I have often written about the former, though I strongly agree with Chris’ point as well. In fact, Chris’ article reminded me of a conversation I had at one of last quarter’s Cloud Exchange events (about which I had intended to write for quite some time).


During an open discussion, participants (mostly IT professionals) had been asked about their most challenging issues. In response, one person said something like “…and business always wants it done in a week”. Though to some that may sound like use of literary license or venting some frustration, there were many heads nodding in agreement. Actually, most heads were nodding in agreement. (Perhaps they all were.)

It’s not hyperbole. I can tell you that I have witnessed this phenomenon myself, many times. In today’s “cloud connected world” that one week request is often followed by “well I can get it from <cloud provider’s name here> in a week!”

It’s not all that surprising…

Many times when we dig into the history of a “last minute” request we learn that it has been under discussion for much more than a week. In some cases even many, many months. In those cases the business people have been refining their ideas regarding a new business service for weeks or months, and they never thought bringing their IT team in early would add value. Perhaps they just never thought of the IT team, with no value judgment whatsoever. In either case, the IT team was not thought of as a strategic contributor outside their domain. Rather, they were thought of as an execution vehicle.

So, then comes the time when the business team has refined their idea to a point where they are ready to execute and they call on the IT team – with whom they have not spoken and have not made their potential needs known. And if they add “<cloud provider> can deliver it in a week” it may actually be because they did bring that provider into their discussion early on. So now the IT team is expected to deliver at a higher level than the provider — figure it all out AND execute “in a week”. Though in the mind of the business team, the standard they have set may appear to be the same.

So, I agree Chris, it does, as you state, “take two to tango”. The business teams absolutely have a critical role to play in IT-Business alignment. Involving the IT team early, helping them to understand key business objectives, and helping them to understand how to speak in business terms can make a dramatic difference in a company’s success.

Fish photo courtesy of stock.xchng.

This blog is cross-posted at Pragmatic Cloud. You can follow @GeorgeDWatt on Twitter.


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George Watt

VP, Corporate Strategy at CA Technologies
A transformative leader, George has spearheaded initiatives that have enabled organizations to simplify and automate their complex IT infrastructures, deliver new business benefits, and drive millions of dollars in savings and productivity gains. In the early 2000s George founded the CA Technologies Engineering Services team, responsible for protecting the company’s intellectual property, managing the consolidated source-code repository, and providing automation and development tools. In this role George led the development of CA Technologies’ own private cloud and enjoys sharing his lessons learned with others who are now venturing on a similar journey. George began his technical career as a systems programmer/ sysadmin and systems engineer. He has held many leadership positions, leading technical and presales teams in Canada, the United States, and globally. Throughout his career, George has delivered innovations such as a lightweight event management agent, a knowledge base for a neural network-based predictive performance management solution, and one of the earliest private clouds. Many of George’s innovations are now available to CA Technologies customers as product components or features. George is co-author of "The Innovative CIO: How IT Leaders Can Drive Business Transformation". He blogs at and tweets as @GeorgeDWatt. George is currently vice president of corporate strategy at CA Technologies.

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