Information technology has become a fundamental part of virtually everything that you do today.  There is no part of business, or even home life, that has not been influenced  or fundamentally changed by technology.

With this in mind, I cannot understand why I constantly hear about technology projects. What are the non-technology projects?  Organizations, including but not limited to IT departments, have got to stop thinking like it’s the 1980s. There should be no boundaries between technology and non-technology projects.

This means giving up on some things that have become sacred cows. Many organizations have separate investment budgets for technology. This dated thinking creates barriers between the bulk of the organization and IT.  Often, this has been done by CFOs who do not understand the IT spending and do not trust it’s ability to manage risk. This technique the fencing off IT investment is no longer tolerable. Organizations that do this are condemning themselves to lose to a more technologically savvy competitor or any angry public.

Another vestige of the past is the IT roadmap. In most organizations this is a plan utterly divorced from business imperatives and priorities. It has tended to represent what IT wants or needs without tying it to organizational strategy. An IT roadmap should be nothing more than an appendage to business strategy. It should not be a separate document with separate ownership.

This recognition that all projects are technology projects to some degree calls into question organizational structure. IT cannot be a separate function unrelated to the mainstream of business. The business cannot download responsibility for all technology to IT and wash their hands of it. The outdated concept of IT-business alignment must be replaced with a more useful relationship where IT is a technology service provider and advisor dedicated to making business functions successful.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. There is no such thing as a non-technology project.


Rob Collins

October, 2017