A WSJ article, "How to Tap IT's Hidden Potential" (March 10, 2008) was widely circulated and discussed.

I summarise the article into a few key points:

The problem

  • "IT decisions are often made by the wrong people with insufficient input, and the resulting failures drive a wedge between senior managers and their IT colleagues."
  • The reality today, though, is that CEOs can't ignore IT and expect to succeed. Technology has accelerated the pace of change in business, making it crucial for companies to detect, assess and respond to every opportunity and every threat as quickly and as effectively as possible. And that kind of agility can only be achieved by fully embracing the operational and strategic importance of IT

The solution

 Begin with IT literacy -- and commitment -- at the top. The impetus for effective IT management must come from the CEO and the board. There has to be a willingness on the part of the CEO and the other executives to know enough about IT to understand its functions and its value to the company, in the same way that they understand accounting, finance and marketing.

 Create demand pull for IT solutions. Managers at all levels across the organization need to be convinced that innovations in IT-related areas such as knowledge management, business intelligence, information security, change management and process integration are essential to the success of the enterprise.

Subject IT spending to the same decison making analysis as other investments. Understand the business case. Evaluate costs, risks and benefits of projects.