BYOD highlights a subject area where business and IT have different perspectives. Today a search and replace been done and the “B” in Business was replaced with the “I” in Information. The emphasis within corporate IT on information and not business systems is an issue facing the corporate enterprise. The early era of corporate computing was driven by alignment of technology with the needs of the business. The college program I attended was called “Business Computer Systems”. My first technology position the department was “Information Services”. What happened to the “B” in business and the “S” in Services!? No pun intended!
This re-branding goes back to the era of the mainframe where IBM was the leader of its time. Notice that one of the leaders in today’s technology landscape that has weathered this technology storm still has the word Business in its name since 1924! The term Business System disappeared in the 90’s with emergence of Microsoft as a leader in the enterprise and the trend of re-branding within the enterprise took place. The progression went from Business Systems, Information Services, Information Systems, then Information Technology.
The irony about BYOD is it is not the first time or the last that business has gone outside its own technology teams. Mainframes were the start of many large enterprise corporate IT groups as a result of a changing business landscape. Bricks to Mortar corporate initiatives to e-commerce were not led by corporate IT but business and marketing groups. BYOD and cloud is a continuance but it has a higher profile in the organization as this is an area where I.T has traditionally led.
The history of this name change also coincides with the distancing of I.T. from regular customer interactions. Very little of I.T.’s time is spent interfacing with external customer but mostly internally with the individual corporate business units. Although it is only a name it can help focus priorities. For business the priority is productivity and revenue. In the case of information technology it is management of these systems. The end goals can and will differ.
Would a simple re-branding exercise of Information Technology to Business Systems help in this realignment of the two group or is a new term needed for this era? If CIO’s want to engage in customer facing strategy isn’t this an easy first step? Respond to the poll and offer your suggestions for alternatives in the comments.