This article contains some interesting subtexts; not the least of which is the underlying root reason
why this adversarial relationship between IT and "other business units" (OBU) exist.
I also think it's an oversimplification and a bit myopic to reduce this "tension" to the OBU (clients) want "value", but "IT mercenaries want hours". Many shops do not even use "IT mercenaries", and in-house IT staff always want to resolve any issue as quickly as is possible; therefore, such reasoning is fallacious.
Over the past 23 years, I've identified two underlying operational (and psychological?) reasons why this adversarial relationship between IT and the business might exist in an organization (and to be fair - not all companies have this problem).
1) Lack of insight (and ignorance) on the part of the "other business units" (OBU) as to what, exactly, IT people do, how they do it, and WHY it must be done a certain way in order to get good results and that Holy Grail of business: value!
This is partially the source of some of the mistrust and resentment because it also leads to some OBU folk assuming that "IT drones" are being condescending to them, in addition to (groan with me now) "...taking to long to fix/finish the task/project in question".
That said, IT bears a lot of the responsibility for this part of the problem, by NOT TALKING to OBU people about what they are doing, and why - this is key to creating the "value" that OBU is looking for; "value" is as much perception as hard P&L numbers!
2) At the end of the day, ALL business is about one thing: money.
Like it or not, the "market" demands higher salaries for IT people (advanced/specialized skill sets and continued education should be rewarded); and in many cases these IT salaries approach or exceed compensation for "management", and this is a source of great resentment for some OBU people - management and non-managerial, alike! An interesting contradiction is at play here, in that fewer OBU'ers seem not to mind excessive compensation packages for "executives" and sales/marketing staff.
Nonetheless, I believe that a lack of understanding and appreciation for what IT does, drives resentment and the adversarial relationships between some IT departments and the OBU.
Using clever catch phrases/words like "partners" may or may not mitigate an out-of-control toxic relationship but certainly, ongoing quality communication (another catch phrase?) can only help. I do concur that fostering a climate of "partnership" can be an excellent team-building technique, but I don't believe it's enough.
Better, more effective IT departments usually have technical standards, but they need to include documentation and communications standards, to be adhered to by in-house staff and "mercenaries".
Once the veil of misunderstanding has been dropped, and people are talking to one another as "partners" (?), and more predictable results can be seen by all, much of that root resentment that manifests as "tension", gives way to
a more mutually productive, positive, and profitable relationship.