Bridging the Divide Between IT and the Business

Michael Vizard

Much like people from two countries that speak a common language, IT people are divided from the business people they serve. For instance, both IT people and business people tend to speak in terms of services, but they're talking about entirely different things.

Worse yet, business and IT people tend to use entirely different sets of tools to define a service, and neither party really has a tool that can effectively measure that service. So this general lack of understanding between the parties creates the great divide between business and IT.

One company trying to bridge this divide has created a software-as-a-service platform that provides a common method for business and IT people to not only model a service, but also measure its effectiveness to the business. And perhaps most compelling, both business and IT people can interact with this service using their favorite existing business applications so no one has to learn a completely new way of doing things.

The BusinessMatrix service from Gravitant allows user to model a specific business service and the underlying IT resources that drive it. Rather than trying to boil the proverbial ocean, James Rogers, the company's vice president of sales and marketing, says the platform is designed to model specific services that over time will create an effective overview of the IT assets tied to specific business services, then measure how effectively they achieve specific business goals.

In effect, says Rogers, the BusinessMatrix platform automates the IT governance process using dashboards, analytics and scorecards delivered in ways that business people can easily comprehend. Moreover, the Gravitant platform is flexible enough to allow business users to model services in their favorite financial-planning tools, or allow an IT person to use his or her favorite business intelligence application, then upload that model into the system where Gravitant can convert it into a model that can be accessed and shared by all.

Rogers says that a modular approach to modeling specific business processes is much more useful to business people than trying to create a model that attempts to reverse-engineer every business process tied to IT. Obviously, a place where business and IT people can come together to model services is not going to eliminate the divide between business and IT overnight or heal the divisions within the business itself. But it does represent a neutral place to get those conversations started using a common framework of understanding.

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Feb 5, 2010 6:38 PM Michel Michel  says:

Although there is indeed a gap between business and IT when it comes to making decisions and compare apples to apples, I'm not sure if this is the biggest gap that needs to be solved.

In my opinion the real issue is the fact that businesses needs a specific set of solutions, and (historically) IT has done a bad job at delivering what was needed (on time and in budget). It's not a problem of communication, it's a delivery issue. The cause of this is that IT lacks agility, and therefore cannot keep up with the speed at which the business evolves.

If IT doesn't transform the underlying "engine" that is used to deliver to the business what the business needs, then the problem will prevail. The type of solution you describe seems to help these two parties get closer and communicate better, but I don't understand how the real gap can be addressed by just improving communication and expectation management.


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