Narrowing the business and IT gap : a knowledge approach

Mohamed, Essack (2007-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The effort and costs to achieve alignment between Business and IT have plagued executives for more than 15 years. More recently, from 2005 and 2006, Gartner EXP CIO survey reported that the top 3 management priorities of CIOs have shifted from security breaches and Business disruption to: • Linking Business and IT strategies • Building Business skills in the IT organization • Delivering Business growth Gartner's EXP survey also reported on organizations top 3 barriers to alignment and growth as being: • The Business not knowing what it wants • Business professionals not collaborating with IT • Business leaders trying to circumvent Business problems by using technology. Other studies have expanded Gartner's list of 3 barriers, adding: • Ineffective communication • Lack of understanding the other's perspective • Untimely or lack of involvement To improve the relationship between Business and IT, organisations continue to strategise and researchers continue to write prolifically about alignment and bridging the gap. Much of the literature regarding alignment focuses on becoming better at hardware, information systems, and infrastructure, or emphasizing Business improvement. It is unlikely that this elusive goal will be achieved in an exclusive silo mentality by either IT or Business in isolation of each other. An alternative approach of the gap is a resolution from both ends - for Business to become more 'IT friendly' and for IT to become more 'Business friendly'. This collaborative approach is by definition a knowledge approach - it frames the construct whereby this research is based. It requires of either side to recognize the shortcomings in a mature manner, to acknowledge the gaps, to educate, to communicate, share their domain knowledge so that the cross pollination of proficiencies result in Business-savvy IT resources and IT-sawy Business resources emerge. A knowledge approach recognises knowledge management (KM) enablers such as leadership, culture, technology and measurements that act in a dynamic relationship with KM processes, namely, creating, identifying, collecting, adapting, organizing, applying, and sharing. Enabling a knowledge approach is a worthy goal of sharing, of collaborating by blending of Business-IT experiences in a cauldron of disciplines and expertise to achieve improvements and to add value to the objective of narrowing the gap between Business and IT. This research is developed to: • Investigate the extent of knowledge sharing in and across Business and IT, with a view of assessing its impact on the Business IT gap. • Assess ~ demographics (personal or situational) predispose Business and IT to sharing knowledge. • Establish if domain knowledge of the respective groups per se influences the gap between Business and IT. KM, although relatively youthful, is entering its fourth generation with evidence of two paradigms emerging - that of mainstream thinking and that of the complex adaptive system theory. This research uses pertinent and relevant extracts from both paradigms appropriate to gain an improved understanding and an informed opinion in responding to narrowing the gap. The research shows that both Business and IT evidence a strong willingness to share knowledge and both groups overwhelmingly acknowledge the value of sharing. Two distinct groups of knowledge sharers emerge, a proactive opportunistic group and a large reactive 'after-stimulus' group. The importance of domain knowledge in transcending mediocrity becomes evident in narrowing the gap between Business and IT. The research further demonstrates that there is no strongly distinct affiliation between demographics (personal or situational) and knowledge sharing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die koste en inspanning om belyning tussen sakebelange en IT (inligtingstegnologie) te bereik, is alreeds die afgelope 15 jaar 'n kopseer vir bestuurshoofde. Die Gartner EXP CIO opname van 2005 en 2006 toon dat die top drie bestuursprioriteite vir die CIO geskuif het vanaf sekuriteitsbreuke en onderbrekings in sakebelange na: • die daarstelling van raakvlakke tussen sakebelange en IT-strategiee, • die ontwikkeling van besigheidsvaardighede in die IT -organisasie, en • die daarstelling van organisatoriese groei. Volgens Gartner se opname is die top drie hindernisse vir die belyning en groei van 'n organisasie as volg: • Die ondememing weet nie wat hulle wil he nie. • Daar is nie samewerking tussen die onderneming se professionele persona en IT nie. • Besigheidsleiers gebruik tegnologie om die onderneming se probleme te verskalk. Ander studies het op Gartner se Iys van drie hindernisse uitgebrei en die volgende bygevoeg: • ondoeltreffende kommunikasie, • 'n gebrek aan insig in ander se perspektief, en • 'n gebrek aan en/of ontydige betrokkenheid. Om die verhouding tussen sakebelange en IT te verbeter, sal organisasies aanhou om strategies te beplan en navorsers sal voortgaan om te skryf oor die belyning en oorbrugging van die gaping. Baie van die literatuur oor belyning fokus op die verbetering van kennis van apparatuur, inligtingstelsels en infrastruktuur of benadruk die verbetering van die onderneming. Dit is onwaarskynlik dat hierdie ontwykende doel met 'n eksklusiewe silo-mentaliteit deur IT of die onderneming in afsondering bereik sal word. 'n Alternatiewe benadering is om hierdie gaping van albei kante te probeer oorbrug: Die onderneming moet meer 'IT-vriendelik' raak en IT moet meer 'besigheidsvriendelik' raak. Hierdie samewerkingsbenadering is per definisie 'n kennisbestuurs- (KB)benadering - dit beklemtoon die raamwerk waarop hierdie navorsing gebaseer is. Dit is nodig dat albei kante die tekortkominge op 'n bekwame manier herken en die gapings erken. Opleiding, kommunikasie en die deel van kennis deur die kruisbestuiwing van kundigheid sal lei tot 'besigheid-vindingryke-IT-persone' en 'IT-vindingryke-besigheidspersone'. 'n Kennisgebaseerde benadering herken ondersteunende faktore vir KB soos leierskap, kultuur, tegnologie en maatstawwe om in 'n dinamiese verhouding met die KB-proses te staan; naamlik skepping, identifisering, versameling, aanpassing, organisering, toepassing en verspreiding. Die daarstelling van 'n KB-benadering is 'n verdienstelike doel om die vermenging van sakebelange-IT -ondervinding in 'n kookpot van dissiplines en ondervinding te ondersteun ten einde tot die vernouing van die gaping tussen sakebelange en IT by te dra. Hierdie navorsing is ontwikkel om: • ondersoek in te stel na die omvang van kundigheidsverdeling tussen sake belange en IT met 'n bepaling van die impak (indien enige) op die sakebelange-IT-gaping, • te bepaal of demografiese faktore (persoonlik en situasioneel) impakteer op die ingesteldheid van sakebelange en IT om kundigheid te deel, en • te bepaal of domeinkundigheid van die onderskeie groepe 'n invloed het op die gaping tussen sakebelange en IT. KB, alhoewel nog in sy kinderskoene, is alreeds in sy vierde generasie met 'n groeiende bewuswording van twee paradigmas, naamlik hoofstroomdenke en die meer komplekse aanpasbare stelselteorie ("adaptive system theory"). Hierdie navorsing gebruik toepaslike uittreksels uit albei paradigmas om 'n hoer vlak van insig te bereik en 'n ingeligte opinie te vorm ten einde 'n bydrae te maak tot die vernouing van die gaping. Die navorsing toon dat sakebelange sowel as IT 'n sterk gewilligheid toon om kennis te deel. Albei groepe het 'n ongelooflike erkenning van die waarde van die deel van kennis. Twee duidelike groepe van kennisverdeling bestaan, naamlik 'n pro-aktiewe opportunistiese groep en 'n grootliks reaktiewe 'na-'n-insentief-groep. Die belangrikheid van omgewingskennis in oortreffende middelmatigheid word sigbaar in die vernouing van die gaping tussen sakebelange en IT. Die navorsing toon verder dat daar geen sterk verwantskap tussen die onderskeie demografiese faktore (persoonlik en situasioneel) en kennisverdeling is nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49206
This item appears in the following collections: