Addressing both efficient production and customer responsiveness at the same time seemed an insolvable issue in traditional manufacturing, as well. Until management innovations - such as just-in-time (JIT) supply chain optimization - gave management the tools needed to address this. The main difference between the new supply chain and the traditional manufacturing-oriented approach was that the goal shifted from efficient production to effective end-customer delivery. This leads to vastly different decisions when put into an optimization model. The IT equivalent of this JIT innovation is cloud computing.
It took the manufacturing industry several decades (and fierce competitive pressure from pioneers such as Japan) to make the transition to be both efficient and responsive at the same time. IT can learn from these experiences. The competitive pressure required to make such a transition has already arrived. Cloud computing enables users to bypass IT completely and source solutions directly from outside service providers, a practice sometimes referred to as “Rogue IT.” In my post "On empowered users, rogue and shadow IT, stealth clouds and the future corporate IT" I wrote on the valid need for IT to be closer to the business again, which in my view can be achieved without cutting it in two.
By taking an integrated approach - based on aforementioned IT supply chain thinking, with a large emphasis on sourcing – IT organizations will be able to both have their cake and eat it too.