One of the sources of disconnect between business leadership and IT is a lack of mutual agreement as to how aggressive the firm’s investment in IT should be. I refer to this leaning as the firm’s IT stance. Alignment on stance can help defuse much of the tension and frustration between IT and the business.
This disconnect is often illustrated by IT managers trying to justify increased spending on IT, particularly on new technologies that have the potential to elevate the firm’s competitive standing, and the response from managers, still reeling from the failure of the last technology rollout.
You don’t need to have read Everitt Roger’s 1962 seminal work – The Diffusion of Innovations – to understand his model describing how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread. The model – with updated language – was popularised by Geoffrey Moore in his book Crossing The Chasm.
Technology adopters are categorised into one of five groups, recognising the differences in the willingness of firms (or individuals) to be reliant on unproven or novel technology: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.
The firm’s IT stance is – in essence – where you sit on this curve. The lack of alignment comes from where IT believe you are (or should be), and where company leadership believes you should be.
In considering your stance, you are making a deliberate choice as to your posture. Company management need to decide where they want the firm to be, rather than leaving this to IT or suppliers.
Stance is a highly subjective interpretation of your position on the curve rather than a formula-based assessment. It is more important to motivate the internal discussion of where your firm should sit than to split hairs as to whether you are at the 40% mark or the 44% mark.