Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zoo or Jungle? what is your IT alignment?

When you go to the Zoo each of the animals has their area to live in. The zookeepers do everything they can to replicate the animals natural environment, diet and activity in their cages. They provide the best care that they can to keep the animal healthy and happy. The zoo keeper is focused on one exhibit or area at a time. However very few, if any, of the actions that the Zoo Keepers make for each animal actually help the full zoo. You treat each of the animal areas as individual projects.

In the jungle the ecosystem is what keeps it all running. It is no longer enough to only look at the needs of individual animal. Every decision and action has to be weighed against the overall shift in the ecosystem.

When we allow our organizations to grow into silos and then implement the technology solutions for each individual area are we just tending a zoo? So while that technology may help that individual, what did it do for the org or for the full mission?

My boss, Judith Sol Dyess, just posted some similar thoughts about how she just "deleted her strategy" on her blog. I find it very interesting that without strong IT leadership, further exaggearted with a big disconnect between IT and Leadership that the Zoo silos grow. Here is a quote from Judith:

" thing stands out. We have moved from projects that benefit the entire org, to department-based work. That’s not to say that Finance or Marketing don’t have valid technology needs, not at all. But this segregation of projects is troubling."

IT Alignment is all about matching your technology strategy to your organizations mission. Too often we get stuck tending the monkeys and loose track of the jungle we are in.

(zoo photo from Flickr mag3737)

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