Aligning IT & Business Goals – Step-by-Step Program The purpose of Business& IT Alignment is to optimize the value that IT contributes to the enterprise. Use this step-by-step program – rich with proven tools & research - as the first step to successfully outlining a strategic roadmap for your organization. An organization has successfully aligned IT strategy to business strategy when there is: • A shared understanding of how IT applications, technologies and services will contribute to business objectives – today and in the future. • A shared focus on where to expend scarce resources, time and money; the tradeoffs the enterprise is prepared to make. • A credible working relationship between the IT organization and the rest of the business evidenced by reliable daily operations, responsive problem management and predictable, innovative solution delivery. Info-Tech’s Aligning IT & Business Goals program includes tools & related research to complete three main steps: 1. Set Conditions to Achieve Alignment 2. Determine IT Value Imperatives 3. Assess IT Organizational Alignment 4. Develop IT Vision and Mission When you have completed our Aligning IT & Business Goals program you will have: • Support from key executives to participate in developing the IT Strategy. • An understanding of how emerging technologies, applications and trends can or will impact your enterprise and your IT organization. • Clear expectations of how IT will contribute to reaching the company’s business goals and objectives. • A defined articulation of IT’s role in, and value to, the enterprise for the strategic horizon.
Give IT and Business an Attitude Alignment Improving IT alignment with the business continues to be a major priority. Often, there is an assumption that IT and the business are aligned if the initiatives in the IT plan are reviewed and approved by business management. Look beyond project priorities to align IT approaches to various business practices with those of its business partners. Assess Enterprise Personality Enterprises vary greatly in their approach to practices such as location of decision-making (decentralized vs. centralized) and process-orientation (casual vs. formal). When IT operates differently from the business, IT and the business are out of alignment, even if the IT priority list has full management support. Info-Tech has found that enterprises can be characterized by their practices on seven attributes of corporate culture: Centralized: Enterprises can be decentralized with regard to major decision-making, or strongly centralized with high consistency throughout. Process-driven: Some enterprises are very casual about processes, while others are highly regimented. Investment-oriented: Many enterprises are very cautious about investments, while others encourage investment proposals. Risk-tolerant: Enterprises may aggressively avoid risk or easily accept it. Controlling: Managers and staff may be empowered or there may be tight control on what they can do without approval. Measuring: Some enterprises measure very little beyond overall financial results, while others measure all important aspects of the business, productivity, service levels, satisfaction, and so on. Performance-focused: At one extreme, enterprises may not be concerned about being the "best" in performance, while others focus on being leaders. When Do Problems Arise? If IT attributes are different than those of the enterprise, problems occur. It is worse for IT to lag the business than to lead the business on any scale, but both positions are problematic. For example, on the centralized scale, it will be difficult for an IT group to propose the same application deployment approach for all applications in an enterprise that
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