• Vamshi Barla

What is Business-IT Alignment and Why Does it Matter?

What is Business-IT Alignment?

As you can imagine, there is no universal blueprint for businesses that successfully fulfill their purpose and achieve their mission. However, most leaders agree that Strategic Alignment is one of the critical contributing factors. When all elements of a business, much like rowers on a boat working in unison, and are in sync the result is Strategic Alignment. They work together with the sole purpose of fulfilling the business objectives. While the concept sounds simple, achieving alignment can be a complicated and evolutionary process.

A company’s purpose generally does not change, but department level strategies and organizational structures do, which can make chasing alignment feel like rowing in circles! With a robust framework and governance structure in place this process can be simplified, and its results sustained.

Faced with limited resources, business leaders should prioritize business components with higher potential for transformation, such as Information Technology (IT). Nobody can challenge the power that IT has to transform businesses and indeed entire industries. To do so, however, IT must evolve beyond its traditional role of a cost center that supports the business and become an innovator that provides competitive advantage for the business.

Good IT Strategy

One critical enabler of effective and long-lasting Business-IT Alignment is a well-crafted and continuously fine-tuned IT Strategy along with the IT operational capabilities needed to achieve the IT Strategy. Business stakeholders usually lack the technology perspective and knowledge to translate business objectives into IT initiatives that can help achieve them. IT leaders need to work together with the business to define the IT Strategy.

A good IT Strategy:

  • Clearly links IT initiatives to business goals and objectives,

  • Optimizes IT capabilities to realize them, and

  • Adds additional IT capabilities to leverage new or previously unused technologies in support of achieving business goals and objectives

Do you think your organization has an IT Strategy that is designed to support the goals and objectives of your business? Does your IT organization have the capabilities needed to support your IT Strategy? Are your Business and IT well aligned?

Business-IT Alignment Assessment

Take a short 15-question survey that can provide a good indication of your organization’s current alignment. At the end of the assessment, you will receive a score and a brief commentary.

If your assessment returns a near perfect score, congratulations! your organization is aligned in most of the assessed areas. For most of us though, the reality is that IT works mostly independent of the business, and a list of IT projects is sometimes all that constitutes an IT Strategy.

Why Business-IT Alignment Matters

The velocity and magnitude of technology changes today have increased dramatically compared to anything we have seen before. If we are to realize the business value through the adoption of emerging technologies, CIOs and CEOs must address significant challenges. It is time for IT to evolve into a trusted partner, empowering business through innovation and efficiency. The time to act is now!

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