The Perfect IT Book for the Business?

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 18:02 PM

By John Parkinson Several times over the past year I have been asked by senior executive colleagues to recommend reading material that would give them a working background on and understanding of enterprise IT. Something along the lines of the "XX for Dummies" series.

Accurate, but not too detailed. Free of jargon, but with a useful glossary of tech speak.

I was surprised to find that this didn't really exist.

I probably scanned thirty or forty possible sources (thank you, Google and Amazon) but most of what I found wasn't really suitable--not focused on the enterprise, too "2.0" or even "3.0"-oriented, too technical, insufficiently accessible, just plain wrong and so on.

I did eventually find something that was almost what my colleagues needed, but even that wasn't quite right.

This is puzzling.

Surely, given how much IT wants to be a partner with the business, someone would have developed the primer for our business colleagues, just as they have developed primers on strategy, finance, marketing and so on for us business-ignorant technologists.

Content would have to come from the IT side--and maybe that's where the problem lies. Maybe we technologists just can't describe what we do in an accessible and understandable way. Or maybe we think that if we let our business buddies see under the hood, they'd figure out that we are (a) incompetent or (b) not necessary.

I don't really believe either of those explanations is true, but I still haven't found the "Introduction to Enterprise IT for Non-Technologists" that I was asked for.

Maybe I didn't look hard enough or in the right places. Maybe someone reading this has the answer.

Or maybe I'll just write one myself...

John Parkinson, the former CTO of TransUnion LLC, has been a technology executive and consultant for over 30 years, advising many of the world's leading companies on the issues associated with the effective use of IT. Click here to read his columns in CIO Insight's print edition.