IT Must Learn Not to Fight

Do you chat around the water cooler, or do you fight around the water cooler? CIO Update.com’s Robert McGarvey notes that tech strategy disputes can bog down business.”You have no idea. None. These technology disputes turn really nasty, and personal, so fast,” says one consultant.

What can go wrong? One analyst gives this example: A flashpoint for many technology wars is ignited in today’s market when an equity fund rounds up a number of acquisitions, then seeks to blend them into one cohesive unit. But company A runs Oracle, company B is a SAP shop, C uses SAS, and pretty soon a brawl erupts. Ego is at stake, but so too are jobs and thus things can get very bitter very quickly.

Territories. Departments. Silos. Mergers and acquisitions. Too many C-level executives. Dueling CIOs. So many things can go wrong. But then again, tech can sometimes be a scapegoat for bigger problems. “During mergers and acquisitions, the argument over whose technology is better becomes a proxy for discussions about which company’s operating model – supported by its respective executive team, processes and technology – is best for the long-term interests of the business.”

“You cannot let the technologists pull you down into the weeds in the code,” a consultant tells McGarvey. And it’s important to remember that “Technology purity may matter in computer science classrooms but in business, not so much. What matters is what works.”

It’s useful insight for dysfunctional organizations.

Don Willmott

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