Re: "get senior management to take the issues seriously"
As an IT guy who's also in senior management (founder), I'd like to add that plenty of IT people expect the business to understand their side, while doing very little to explain the problem in business terms, or trying to understand what the business as a whole is facing and where they fit in.
Here's a problem: the business people don't understand the system, and neither do the IT people! Imagine a system that's running on an old release of Linux, and there's no real plan to replace it. Imagine that I had to explain to a developer, who'd been with the company 18 years, the difference between a C preprocessor macro and a function. Imagine that none of the developers know how to use a debugger. Imagine that two years ago, one of the developers hit the system with a load test equivalent of a large fuzzy Q-tip. The system fell over immediately, but nothing was done about it.
And of course, imagine that the business people are blithely selling the product like it can be a fabulous solution to handle bazillions of users. Which it can't. And that's been explained to them. Repeatedly.
At some point, "engineering" really means, "the work of designing and creating large structures (such as roads and bridges) or new products or systems by using scientific methods."
Scientific methods, what a concept. Designing. Planning. Estimating. Testing. There is nothing that the minion on the bottom can do to get managers off their ass and do something competent, when the managers are fully incompetent, and of course never had the training in the first place.
When does senior management take the issues seriously? Bankruptcy. "You have no money. Now go home, pack your stuff, and live in a cardboard box on the sidewalk." Then they'll take notice.