Isn’t it strange how certain topics flash up on your radar screen? I recently attended a lecture at the Irish Computer Society (ICS) given by Prof. Joe Peppard of Cranfield University School of Management over in the UK . The initial email from the ICS advertised it as a masterclass for aspiring CIOs — so naturally I went. The first of three lectures, it covered change, culture and its impact on the organisation. The class also looked at the the “cultural gap” that is often observed between the IT and the rest of the business.
To demonstrate his point, Prof. Peppard spoke of cultural webs as a means to determine how aligned, or not, IT is with the rest of the organisation. Of course, in large companies, there will be many different subcultures. The accountants, for example, will be a very different bunch that the designers. And even though there are only two of us in the IT department where I work, we do speak a different language to each other than to the end users. So, at Peppard’s lecture, I found myself wondering how I could determine the degree of shared culture we had with the rest of the organisation.
Then today, I saw this amusing blog post by Susan Cramm, author of 8 Things We Hate About IT. It boils down to the same thing: a misalignment or mis-communication between IT and the rest of the organisation. On the tech side:
IT leaders hate the fact that no matter what they deliver, it’s not enough. They hate the fact that demand far outstrips available resources and that business leaders largely believe that IT is something that is done to them rather than through them.
While over on the business side, they
hate that IT costs too much and delivers too little, too late. They hate the fact that they don’t understand enough about IT to directly influence what IT does and how it gets done.
The author, of course, is making a call for dialogue and “to understand the needs of the other.” I don’t know if it has been done, but wouldn’t it be fun to devise a questionnaire and a scale to see how well different IT and business cultures overlap each other on the cultural web?