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8 Things We Hate About IT: How to Move Beyond the Frustrations to Form a New Partnership with IT Paperback – March 29, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Cramm is Founder and President of Valuedance and a recognized industry expert on information technology leadership. She has consulted to executives from a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Toyota, Novartis, Whole Foods Markets, and Sony. She is an award-winning writer and author of the Harvard Business Review blog “Have IT Your Way.”

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

What To Expect In This Book
This book is organized by the “eight hates” outline above, with a chapter dedicated to each to examine and reconcile the frustrations. We will change the “ors” into “ands” by answering the following questions:
• Chapter 1: How can serve in a controlled manner?
• Chapter 2: How can we deliver results while enhancing the relationship?
• Chapter 3: How can we identify tactics that are grounded in strategy?
• Chapter 4: How can we make sure our expenses are investments?
• Chapter 5: How can deliver quickly, with quality?
• Chapter 6: How can we have customized standardization?
• Chapter 7: How can we innovate in spite of the bureaucracy?
• Chapter 8: How can transform from good to great IT?
In reading this book, business leaders may feel like I am letting IT off easy and making the whole IT-business relationship thing their problem to solve. I am. The only person you can change is you and, in the process of changing yourself, IT will be forced to change. Great relationships aren’t 50-50, they are 100-100 with each party doing whatever they can to meet the needs of the other. But rest assured, while I am nagging you, the business leader, I am also implicitly holding IT accountable for being a good partner. In the last chapter, I make the implicit, explicit by summarizing what you should expect from IT, and if you aren’t getting it, outlining how to serve yourself if IT is incapable of doing so.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (March 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422131661
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422131664
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Susan Cramm provides a comprehensive and detailed description of the current state of IT and the friction IT has with the business. The book reflects Cramm's significant experience with existing IT models and practices.

Cramm's point is that "No rational person hates the people within IT, but everybody, IT and business leaders alike, hate the current IT system." Page 155. Cramm intends to address this point by having the business participate this current system.

Unfortunately, the book's advice is to have the business executives get more involved with the practices of the current IT system that everyone hates. This becomes apparent as you read the book and understand its central premise that it's the business's responsibility to make IT work.

I do not recommend sharing this book with a business executive to get them to suddenly wake up and say - yes I have been neglecting IT all these years and it is my fault. Cramm suggests that business leaders will come to this revelation on their own. (pages 141-144) The book does not make a strong enough argument backed by real examples of how this works.

If you are going to convince business leaders to spend more time on IT, then you need to present hard evidence, what others are getting by spending more time. You cannot just assert that it is the right thing to do. I can see where a business leader could read the book and take away the idea that this is IT restating old arguments and shifting responsibility away from IT and onto the business. That is an understanding may do more damage than help.

Weill and Ross's book IT Savvy does a better job and is heavily footnoted in this book.
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Format: Paperback
I've been in the business of applying technology to business for 45 years. Cramm's book squares well with my 36 years of in IBM working directly with clients on their issues. For the last nine years I have applying that experience in higher education. There is nothing in this book that I have not encountered and been occasionally bloodied by.

Cramm is on target in a clear and clarifying way about what needs to be done by business if the potential value of technology is to be realized. Crisp writing (except for the occasional "yank the bandage off" phrase) regarding the critical issues is engaging and informative. Cramm's critique of the approach to managing the IT assets is constructive with suggestions as to what to do liberally sprinkled throughout the easy-to-read book.

This is a recommended read for the executive who is wondering what to do about IT. I would likely make it assigned reading for my client executives were I still in the consulting business. As it is, I have some other ideas as to how to use the book in the context of some of my current responsibilities.

It is regrettable that the issues and recommendations are too easily recognizable by many of us who have been in IT for a long time. One is left to wonder how much progress has really been made in generating value through the application of IT. Perhaps this points to a void in the higher education curriculum.

It occurs to me that a subtitle for this book could be "We have met the enemy and he is us." Ah, the prescient Pogo.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book itself is well written, with generally good arguments...but I tend not to agree with a lot of the conclusions. Nonetheless, these kinds of books are important to broaden perspectives, and the professionalism obvious in the author suggests that the opinions do reflect her experiences.
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OK, as an IT guy- I love this book. Even if it is about hating IT.

The truth is that the things Susan Cramm identifies as hated by business people are things that we in IT aren't so crazy about either.

The real value in this book is Susan's plea for the folks on the "business" side of the house to own their IT; to think of it as THEIR tool for getting THEIR work done as opposed to a kind of neutral service that should do their bidding. That kind of attitude change would make a tremendous difference in an organization's ability to leverage its systems for real competitive advantage.

There are practical suggestions here for building the sort of partnership that we need between business and IT. I think that those suggestions are both realistic and attainable, even if they are likely to nudge us all out of our comfort zones. In other words, don't expect just a theoretical discussion of how things oughtta be... there's real guidance for how to get there.

As for readability- I rarely use a highlighter in a book, but a quarter of the way through this one, I made an exception. It's full of interesting factoids and quotable quotes and I wanted to be able to find them again when I needed to steal them.

Finally, for what it's worth, I also enjoyed what struck me as a uniquely female sensibility around some of the thought here. Two quick examples...

In relaying an illustration of one IT manager's plight she describes his much-cultivated business alignment as being "like the alignment of a husband and wife with separate bedrooms and separate vacations."

Later she says that "Dealing with the typical IT department is like trying to date someone difficult.
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