As I was watching this thread develop, with various comments from people that live and breathe IT, one thing kept coming to mind. IT people often try and justify new technology with technology reasoning. It's analogous to answering a question with another question.
Far too often, because IT has almost always been looked at as a cost-center and measured for ROI based on cost-reduction or productivity improvements, technologist feel the need to drive the justification for a new project based on cost.
- How will it be cheaper than the last project?
- How will it reduce spending for the business in some way?
- How can this eliminate something that isn't as effective as this new technology?
The right answer is DevOps.
Huh? Why would I use a technology term, "DevOps", as the answer to the question when I just got done saying we shouldn't use technology to explain technology? Because the technology use of "DevOps" (short for the combined model of Development + Operations) has created the wrong way to shorten the appropriate words. To answer the question, "How to Connect IT and Business?", think of "DevOps" as Developing + Opportunities.
While IT often thinks about technology as a challenge, or a learning experience (or a career-path), the business only sees technology as a potential means to an end. An end that is often focused on the top-line of the company's P&L or Balance Sheet. The business is focused on how to develop that next opportunity to grow the business or position it strategically to alter the market dynamics. The means to that development could be through capital (new investments in people, equipment, partnerships, or technology), or new operational models that involve technology. Its success is ultimately measured in revenue or marketshare, but it has interim measurements like "time to market", "share of audience attention", "customer satisfaction levels". Things that technology can have a direct impact upon.
So if you want to be the IT professional that can better connect the technology you deliver to the business, take a step back from focusing on costs or the nuances of the technology, and instead focus on the right kind of DevOps. Be knowledgeable about how to refactor the IT project list to better impact a new business DevOps and you'll find the business beginning to come to you more often with a desire to partner for the overall business success.