Delivering Business Value with IT at Hefty Hardware

 

Shortcomings of business and IT:

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            Hearing “IT
is a pain in the neck” from a VP of an established company is usually a sign of
dysfunctional organization. Based on the text, it is evident that there is a
huge gap between the IT department and the business community of Hefty
Hardware. Today, the management team knows the root of most issues in an
organization draws down to the people within the company rather than the
company itself. The value of an organization is compromised of the people,
technology, and information; so it is wrong to blame IT for everything.

 

            The relationship
between IT and business in this mini case is quite toxic because each side
thinks the other side does not understand their problems and requirements are.

The business side feels the money they’re investing in IT doesn’t give a real
value in return. They think the IT is in their own world where they don’t
understand what the business is trying to do. Cheryl, the VP of retail
marketing and Glen, the COO, agree with each other that IT people do not
understand the basic business process of the organization. In order to
alleviate the issue, the two higher-level managers think it is their
responsibility to take the IT team onto the field to make them understand the
day-to-day operations at all the Hefty stores. However, the IT folks have a
completely different point of view on this matter. The CIO, Farzad and the
chief architect, Sergei disagree with going onto the field believing it’s a
nonsense idea that brings no value, calling it “boondoggle.”

 

            The two
head IT managers are more focused on planning a strategic IT architecture for
Savvy Store program rather than the on field training. They would much rather
send their subordinates on the trip after the planning and budget cycle are all
done, but little do they know that sending IT people after the planning creates
a much larger problem.  According to
SDLC, it is much more feasible to change plans earlier in the development
rather than later to avoid more expenses and headaches. There is no doubt that
the IT department couldn’t communicate effectively with the business and made
them reject the ideas that were actually worth giving a shot.

 

            Another
cause for the gap in the partnership between the two departments is the lack of
trust and support. The IT people feel that they don’t get enough support from
the business to ensure that their value is recognized in the organization. “A
new CEO would come in, and the next thing you knew the CIO would be history,”
is an example of lack of support between the two departments. It seems as if
the organization’s only way to “fix” an IT problem is to point fingers at the
IT people and fire the CIO, which is a disastrous route to failure of an
organization as a whole.

Plan for business and IT collaboration:

           

            In order to
have a successful running business, it is extremely important to understand the
value of the organization as a whole. The value is determined by applying
people, technology, and information more efficiently toward shared goal(s). Both
departments are right in their own perspective, but wrong in the bigger picture
of the organization. They need to work on their shortcomings together as a team
in order to successfully implement the Savvy Store initiative. Instead of
pointing fingers at each other, they need to incorporate “we/us” oriented
efforts to find a better solution to existing and future problems.

 

            From the
business perspective, they need to really engage more with the IT department
and express what they really want from IT. They also need to share the value of
IT to the business model so that it makes much more sense for the IT to
understand what is expected of them, and where does their work fit in the whole
picture. Regardless of which department or project, everyone is human and
feeling good about the work they put into always radiates positivity, which
leads to a healthier organization. In other words, everyone likes to be
recognized for his/her hard work, and no one likes to feel left out.

 

            Also, it is
crucial to have the right people to be involved in the organization that has
both technical and business skills. The business should seek more commitment to
projects in IT, which would increase overall efficiency of the process. From
the IT perspective, they need to gain more understanding on business and its
functions. IT department needs more knowledge of the overall organizational
goals, business requirements, and objectives. More importantly, the IT staff
needs to put a lot more effort on communication since that is probably the
biggest root of all problems between the two departments.

 

            Furthermore,
it is always necessary to keep the organization running professionally. It
seems as if Hefty Hardware lacks a governance structure to manage the overall
strategies and promote the interdependencies between business and IT. Lastly,
the two departments must trust each other and be clear at their expectations
and accountabilities in order to have a successful running business. 

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