This article, from Bob Lewis at InfoWorld goes a long way to describe what I've been struggling with as an IT Director. I've read it twice, and I'm going to read it again. Break IT out of its silo. Make it an integrated part of the business. Get business owners engaged and accountable for using IT to make the business better.
The alternatives begin with a radically different model of the relationship between IT and the rest of the business — that IT must be integrated into the heart of the enterprise, and everyone in IT must collaborate as a peer with those in the business who need what they do.
Nobody in IT should ever say, "You're my customer and my job is to make sure you're satisfied," or ask, "What do you want me to do?"
Instead, they should say, "My job is to help you and the company succeed," followed by "Show me how you do things now," and "Let's figure out a better way of getting this done."
Don't run IT as a business with internal "customers":
Operating informally, doing favors, gaining deep knowledge into how the business works so as to offer suggestions on how to make it work better — these are what people do when they're in the same boat.
Take it all away and start acting like a separate business, and what do you have? A separate business, but without a marketing department, sales force, or possibility of turning a profit.
My advice? Don't act like a separate business. Do the opposite — be the most internal of internal departments. Become so integrated into the enterprise that nobody would dream of working with anyone else.
The train is leaving the station. There are plenty of seats available.
It's time to get on board.