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Eight Imperatives for the New IT Organization

In an overview of the future role of the IT organization, the authors examine the business and technological changes that are effecting change in many IT units. There are four major process changes in the way firms operate -- reengineering operational processes, reengineering support processes, rethinking managerial information flows, and redesigning network processes -- that all have a major impact on the IT unit. A distributed computing environment, new development software methods, capabilities like the Internet and other networks, new entrants in the computer industry, and outsourcing are the technological changes affecting the IT organization.

The authors cite eight imperatives in which IT organizations must excel in order to succeed:

-- Achieve two-way strategic alignment. Management and IT must work together to ensure that their initiatives are aligned.

-- Develop effective relationships with line management. Communication between IT and line personnel will ensure integration of business and technology capabilities.

-- Deliver and implement new systems. Systems delivery will include not only development but also procurement and integration.

-- Build and manage infrastructure. IT units must develop an architecture, establish standards, communicate the value of the infrastructure, and operate the increasingly complex infrastructure.

-- Reskill the IT organization. New skills -- not just technical skills but business skills -- will be needed.

-- Manage vendor partnerships. IT managers must be informed buyers and negotiators.

-- Build high performance. The IT unit must meet increasingly demanding performance goals.

-- Redesign and manage the federal IT organization. Firms must establish the placement of IT decision-making power and the distribution of managerial responsibilities.

Rockart et al. also examine the new role of IT management in ensuring that all line managers understand the potential of IT and how to use it effectively and that business strategies are effectively implemented. Success is dependent on line managers' response in planning and implementing new IT-based processes.

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