Step 2.1 - Give IT and Business an Attitude Alignment by InfoTech


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									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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