3 Aug 2013

Welcome on the CIT-Blog

Purpose of this Blog

Today, the IT department is in trouble. The business community is not satisfied of the IT department. The role of the IT department is undermined. Corporate IT is a shadow of what it should be. It is underexploited. Why? It’s all about the belief system. Do we really belief that by satisfying the demands formulated by the business community, their needs will be satisfied? Or, more importantly, do we believe this approach will allow the company to prosper?

This blog focusses on a few fundamental questions:

  • How to get the most of IT? (this issue is not a technological issue)
  • How to get the best “information component” in a company?
  • How to make IT projects to succeed?
  • How to implement successful information systems?
  • How to move from an IT department lagging behind to an IT department innovating and driving the business?

We need to change our belief system and to reposition IT within the company, redefine its role, retrain people, develop really best habits and implement healthy methodologies and finally develop a solid, flexible and manageable enterprise-wide information system that suits the company , solves its information needs and allows the business to function.

On this blog I present explain issues, forces and tendencies, mechanisms that unfold and solutions. I would like to emphasise five fundamental principles:

Five fundamental principles:
1.   Corporate IT is about Information and Information needs (not about technologies).
2.   The role of the IT department is to develop the information component of a company.
3.   The IT department is one of the most critical departments of the company.
4.   The main clients of the IT department are (in order of importance!):
a.    The company
b.    The whole business (set of businesses) & the IT department
c.    The business community
5.   Competences in Business Informatics (the conceptual area of IT, analysis and architecture) are most critical to IT department. (The IT department shouldn’t limit itself to technological knowledge.)


These principles are deduces from basic logic. The issues the IT departments struggle with today are linked to them. And of course, these principles do have consequences for the IT department and its environment.

Audience: Business Managers, Business Subject Matter Experts, CIO’s, IT Managers, Program and Project Managers, PMO members, Methodologists, Architects and Analysts, Software Engineers, ...

Subjects: Business-IT Alignment, Business-IT communication gap, Enterprise Engineering and Architecture, Business Analysis, Project Management, Requirements, ...



Axel Vanhooren
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The IT Department

This set of posts explains how the weaknesses about the business-IT relationship and the presently followed approach based on the existing belief system.


Various Subjects



2 Aug 2013

About Consumer IT, Corporate IT and the collaboration between business people and IT people

Collaboration between IT people and business people on IT projects is essential to come to the best systems. Both groups have a fundamental different perception of IT. And this difference in perception is not favourable for the collaboration. Business people, although they are computer literate, have often unjustified or overestimated expectations from the IT projects. From their behaviour, priorities, norms, decisions and thinking patterns, it is clear that they don’t grasp IT. IT, and particularly Corporate IT, is still a different world for them.

Business people form a mental picture based on what they know of IT. This picture is based on what they can see and experience of IT. Typically, they are most often in contact with “Consumer IT”. They are in contact with smartphones, single user computers, Windows environment and office automation software, games, multimedia products, the world wide web, and so on. These products are equipped with functions like cut-n-paste, do-undo, plug-n-play, wizards, WYSIWYG, templates, one-click-installation procedures, logic based on user information, guessing algorithms, automatic synchronisation of data, easy interconnection, automatic configuration, and so on. Let’s not forget the marketing slogans like “one click away” and “The sky is the limit.”

Business people are a little bit in contact with corporate IT through their company. Most of it is only the GUI of corporate systems.

Consumer IT is oriented to the individual and his personal tastes. The focus is on the GUI. Consumer IT products are easy to acquire, easy to use, fast, relatively cheap, flexible and powerful. They are upgraded frequently, or new versions are put on the market regularly. Consumer IT products are often a single local system, although some acts like stations connected to a network. The complexity of the product is hidden for the user by the GUI. If something happen with it, it will usually impact only one person. These tools are close to the daily life of people. The usage of these tools is based on intuition, guessing, trying, exploration and discovery. The users are hereby driven by their spontaneity, creativity, their desires, preferences and the fun. It is reactive. It allows to respond unexpected changes and to a sudden desire. It emphasises the quality of the experience.

On the other hand, Corporate IT is oriented to larger coordinated groups of people. It servers the company’s interest and focusses on processes, services and ROI. Corporate IT is slow to put in place. Since every implementation is unique, it’s expensive. It is, or can be, flexible and powerful, but in a different way as consumer products. Corporate IT often consists of various interconnected systems forming networks beyond the borders of the company. People dealing with Corporate IT are in the middle of its real complexity. Corporate IT is in some way also very different from the daily way of thinking of people. It’s abstract, extremely detailed, formalised and require a high degree of clarity, consistency and completeness. Issues may have an enterprise-wide impact. It has to ensure business continuity and be secured.

The approach in Corporate is more planned, organised, formalised, controlled, structured, methodical, based on analysis and design (thinking beforehand) and driven by the need of the company or organisation to survive and to grow.

Corporate IT corresponds for 100% to this picture. It simply leans towards it.

What happens when people used to consumer IT have to collaborate with people used to Corporate IT? What happens if we deal with Corporate IT (too much) as if it was Consumer IT?

To have a successful collaboration with business people and develop a strong IT implementation in companies, it might be a good idea for the IT people to educate their customers.