How do you change an "ivory tower" culture into one that focuses on end-user value?

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Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
By "Ivory tower" I am going to make an assumption you mean IT projects that IT executes because IT wants to execute them....  Zero of our projects go forward without a business sponsor.  If the business isn't willing to stick their neck out for the IT project it doesn't go forward.   For some that only benefit IT (Rare) the CIO has a discussion with CFO and CEO to "sponsor for the benefit of the company" - e.g. when we moved to Exchange in the Cloud.
Vice President Information Technology in Finance (non-banking), 201 - 500 employees
By keeping the projects aligned to the strategic goals of the business.
Senior Director, Technology Solutions and Analytics in Telecommunication, 51 - 200 employees
To change an "ivory tower" culture into one that focuses on end-user value, you need to create a shared vision for the company and get everyone on board. You also need to break down silos and foster collaboration between departments. I would also encourage a customer-centric mindset throughout the organization.
Director of IT in Education, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Create a business case and justify the benefits that will be gained from the IT project. Emphasis on any efficiencies, cost savings and that the project is in line with the overall organization strategic goals.
CIO in Education, 501 - 1,000 employees
If we're not out talking to stakeholders and use technology to deliver business outcomes, the ivory tower will eventually come crumbling down......
Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
For any initiative that is being presented for approval, ensure that there is a business sponsor and IT sponsor backing the initiative. Have them clearly articulate how end user value the initiative will provide. Ask how the initiative is tied to strategic or corporate goals. If the submitters are not talking about outcomes for the end user, then the team has not thought this through an end-user perspective.

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Director of IT, Self-employed
One thing I do is include them in the meetings about the changes that will take place and get their opinion.  I also lay out the pros and cons of the changes and how it will effect us as a team moving forward.

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