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Lesson 2

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Chapter 4

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“It is a set of beliefs that one party holds about the other and how these beliefs are formed from the interactions of […] individuals as they engage in tasks associated with an IT service” (Day 2007)

4-2

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It is a multifaceted interaction of people and processes.

It is complex. Different expectations and accountabilities may lead to lack of trust.

It tends to cluster into patterns (e.g., IT is a necessary evil; IT is a support but not a partner; business and IT are partners).

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IT has to keep proving itself.

The business is often disengaged from IT work.

Business expectations of IT change continually.

Business assumptions of IT tend to cluster.

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The relationship is affected by the interaction of many people and processes at multiple levels.

Clarity is often lacking around expectations and accountabilities.

There are many “disconnects” between the two groups.

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Trust

Credibility

Competence

Value

Interpersonal Interaction

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Expertise – the ability to support a technical recommendation and have up-to-date knowledge.

Financial awareness – the ability to identify the value of IT in terms of ROI and total cost of ownership.

Execution – the ability to understand the business, develop a vision and operationalize strategies.

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Find ways to develop business knowledge in all IT staff.

Link IT’s success criteria to business metrics.

Make business value an explicit criteria in all IT decisions.

Ensure effective execution in all IT activities.

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Credibility is the belief that others can be counted on to do what they say they will do. It is built by:

Keeping agreements.

Acting with integrity, honesty and openness.

Being responsive (e.g., delivering on time and under budget).

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Communicate frequently and explicitly.

Pay attention to the “little things”.

Utilize external cues to credibility.

Assess all business touch points.

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Professionalism – can be developed by five sets of attitudes and behaviors:

Comportment (i.e., appearance and manners on the job) Preparation (i.e., displaying competence and good organization. Communication skills Judgment (i.e., making right choices) Attitude (i.e., caring about doing a job well)

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Nontechnical communication

The ability to translate and interpret needs, not only from business to technology and vice versa, but also between business units.

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Social sk ills

The ability to build mutual understanding, to enable all parties to get comfortable with one another and to uncover hidden assumptions.

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Management of politics and conflict

The ability to understand the role of politics and how they can affect the IT work (i.e., addressing conflict and use it to deliver creative solutions).

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Expect professionalism.

Promote a wide variety of social interactions at all levels.

Develop “soft skills” in IT staff.

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The most important way to build trust is through an effective governance:

Integrating planning, defined accountabilities, and clarity of roles and responsibilities are key aspects of an effective governance.

An effective governance addresses the business’ expectations of its IT function.

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Design governance for clarity and transparency.

Mandate the relationship.

Design IT for business expectations.

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Business-IT relationships are complex, with interactions of many types, at many levels, and between both individuals and across functional and organizational entities.

Four majors components are needed to build a strong business-IT relationship: competence, credibility, interpersonal skills, and trust.

Chapter 5

5-1 ©© 20155 Pearson Education, Inc. . Publishing as Prentice Hall

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Communication is a key social element of the organizational alignment between IT and business.

One of the most important skills IT staff needs to develop is how to communicate effectively with businesses.

5-2

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Good communication is essential for: Building trust and partnerships between the business and IT Helping IT to manage the business perceptions of IT Understanding the priorities and pressures of the business Conveying the business value of IT

5-3

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Principle 1: The effectiveness of communication is measured by its outcomes.

Principle 2: Communication is social behavior.

Principle 3: Shared knowledge improves communication.

Principle 4: Mature organizations have better communication.

5-4

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Communication should be measure by its outcomes rather than our intentions.

Communication can get distorted through filters such as politics, culture, and personal points of view.

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Communication not only transmits ideas; it also negotiates relationships.

How you say what you mean is just as important as what you say.

IT staff and managers need to become aware of the power of different linguistic styles in communication situations.

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The more IT staff learns about the business, the better communication becomes.

Shared knowledge is the beginning of the “virtuous circle”.

Shared Knowledge

Increased Communication

Mutual Understanding and “Common Sense”

Implementation Success

THE VIRTUOUS COMMUNICATION CYCLE

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Strong organizational practices support and reinforce good interpersonal communication.

Mature IT organizations embed appropriate communication at the operational and strategic level.

“You can’t be a partner unless you’re a mature IT organization”

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The changing nature of IT work:

IT work has become more complex over time. Multiple cultures, different political contexts, various times zones, and virtual contacts make communication more challenging.

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Hiring practices:

IT skills are changing to become more consultative and collaborative, rather than focused exclusively on technology.

“IT organizations can no longer support smart, super-talented but socially disruptive people”

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IT and business organization structures:

IT staff is expected to play a “knowledge broker” role, not only between IT and business but also between business units. Thus, business silos can make this communication challenging.

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Nature and frequency of communication:

Formal interactions improve communication, but communication should not exclusively occur in formal interactions (e.g., through IT governance).

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Attitude:

Many IT staff are motivated by the desire to be right rather than the desire to communicate effectively.

“We definitely need a ‘we’ attitude in IT, rather than ‘us-them’ attitude”

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Translation: A four-step process

Business

Impact of

Technology

Issues

Business

Technology

Issues

IT Solutions Business

Solutions

IT

Translation

Translation

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Tailoring:

IT staff needs to adapt their communication to the needs of their audience by:

— Understanding needs, agendas, and politics.

— Choosing the suitable communication method (e.g., reports, face-to-face, e-mails).

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Transparency:

The business needs to see what is being done in IT and what it costs. This means:

— Communication that is honest, accurate, ethical, and respectful.

— Getting the communication process flowing both ways.

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Thinking, talk ing, and listening:

–IT staff needs to understand how and where to speak and how to listen to others.

— Communicating innovative ideas effectively involves “getting inside the head of the business”.

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Make the importance of effective communication visible.

Work with HR to develop new skill expectations and roles.

Develop communication skills both formally and informally.

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Increase the nature and frequency of communication.

Spend more time on communication.

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Effective communication can overcome misunderstandings, dysfunctional behavior, and, above all, failures to deliver IT value.

Good communication has both social and organizational dimensions.

A “virtuous circle” of communication can improve IT performance and perceptions of IT value.