Cultural Barriers Stymie IT-Led Innovation

The IT department won't be able to lead business innovation projects if it has a bad reputation, says CA evangelist Steve Romero.

A hot topic among CIOs and management consultants is the notion that IT departments should play a major role in developing new products, entering new markets or improving customer service. Slideshow: 12 Years of Big-Time Apple Innovations

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Consultants call this "IT-driven business innovation." Some companies, such as Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. , are already doing it (see related story ). But at many other companies, the culture isn't ready for IT-led innovation.

Steve Romero, who holds the title "IT governance evangelist" at CA Technologies, compiled the following list of obstacles to IT-driven business innovation in a recent blog post :

• The business doesn't view IT as a source of business innovation.

• A history of technology failures erodes business confidence in the IT department.

• IT doesn't have a reputation of optimal delivery of "bread-and-butter" technology services.

• The organization generally has an aversion to failure (and its response is punitive rather than seeing it as a learning opportunity).

• The business and IT don't merge into a single innovation machine.

• There's a lack of IT-business alignment that could overcome the previously mentioned obstacles.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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