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Have a cross-functional steering committee set priorities

24 February, 2015 - 17:30

Many organizations use a cross-functional steering committee to discuss and agree on overall priorities for the IS function. All major areas of the company are represented, including, for example, accounting, finance, human resources, operations, and sales and marketing. Having all areas involved provides some assurance that the organization's needs and opportunities are addressed in the proper priority sequence. The shortcomings of this approach, in practice, however is that some heads of areas may not be as supportive of IS as they should be, and the process can become complicated when organizational politics intervene.

For example, the organization’s best opportunity for obtaining business benefits could lie with a new information system to track how well sales are performing in order to be sure that customer demands will be met But this opportunity may not be understood or appreciated by the sales manager. Without the support from the sales manager, the IS project in his or her area would be unlikely to succeed, so the organization’s best opportunity is lost. On the other hand, it could be the case that the operations manager has a strong and persuasive personality, and by force of argument in steering committee meetings is able to convince others that operations projects should get the highest priority.