The fact is not only do most business people not understand IT, they dont want to. They want the benefit IT provides, but dont really care to understand the technology. The problem is, if you are not understood your credibility will be low and your job will be harder. Any executive with low credibility will be faced with lots of obstacles and stupid questions in the form of: Why are you doing that? Why does it cost so much? Why cant we cut the budget? Why arent you doing this instead?
Its Up to You
Your business counterparts will probably never make the effort to bridge this gap. And, in reality, business people generally dont have the capability to understand what you do even if they wanted to. Because of the vastness of technology and years of experience you have, it is just not possible for a non-technical executive to understand and appreciate what you do, let alone how you do it.
So, even if you feel like this misunderstanding is unfair, that its the fault of the business, or is bad publicity brought on by consultants, your choices are either to step up to improve understanding, or continue dealing with the problems that come from being respected only as a technology guru who doesnt understand business.
First and foremost, however, before any real change can take place, you have to be doing a good job. I know this goes without saying, but this is the first step in building credibility. The last thing I recommend is to go forth trying to get recognition and build credibility if the results arent there to back it up. Still, you must do both. Either one on its own doesnt work.
Many people, not just in IT, believe good results should be enough to earn recognition and credibility, but its not. Good work does not stand on its own. For an IT department this is especially true. Think about it, if the business doesnt understand IT in the first place, they are not capable of recognizing what is good work. Its like being hired as an Opera critic only having listened to Rock & Roll your whole life. Its up to you to get the value of your work recognized.
It is possible to create a way for IT to be understood by the business, but it has to be on their terms, not yours. There are four key areas you will need to focus on:
Credibility and political power do not come from technology, they come only from relationships. You will need to identify who the stakeholders and influencers are in your unique environment and build relationships with them.