For many organisations, markets change fast as customer needs develop and competitors offer new solutions. Business people under pressure to get new products and services to market may ask more of the IT department than it can deliver at that moment. This friction can cause difficulties in communication and relationships between the two groups. From there, it can lead to fragile or fractured business continuity. The answer is systematic collaboration to ensure that plans are made ahead of time and that the organisation can take advantage of opportunities while avoiding performance issues and outages. Ideally, both parties will have a proactive role to play.

This dual proactivity is part of IT governance, the process by which organisations can make sure that interlinked business and IT goals are met. IT governance has two potential advantages. First, it helps organisations to manage their IT to prevent disasters and strengthen business continuity. Second, it stimulates innovation that then generates higher business growth rates. Naturally, business people must make their needs and expectations known. But with the right IT governance, IT is not just a provider of resources and services: it is also a contributor of business ideas.

The fact is that the IT department is involved with the organisation at practically every conceivable level. IT managers, for example the Chief Information Officer, are therefore in a great position to spot opportunities for streamlining, improving and innovating in business procedures and activities. It was this approach that gave courier company Federal Express a strategic lead over its competitors with a package tracking application jointly built by the business and IT sides of the company. While business people tell IT what they need, IT can tell business people about additional opportunities open to them. Potential disconnects are replaced by synergy that reinforces both business results and business continuity.