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.
The Goal of IT/Business Alignment: Why so Elusive? There is no shortage of research, advice, tools and recommendations concerning IT/business alignment. A Google search will surface more than 12 million results. Yet, CIO Magazine's "The STATE of the CIO '07" revealed that alignment remains the most common top-five priority of IT leaders. So why does alignment continue to elude IT organizations? One reason may be, despite all the self-examination, most organizations do not completely grasp what IT/business alignment really means. IT/Business Alignment Defined Alignment has become an overused buzzword. Companies tout business and IT alignment as key to success in managing IT effectively. Failing to achieve strong alignment has been blamed for the demise of many IT leaders. But what is IT/business alignment? Simply put, when a company arranges, coordinates and organizes its capabilities around an agreed vision and set of priorities, it has successfully achieved alignment. Specifically for the IT organization, successful alignment means that IT is actively and directly enabling business objectives; following the same game plan as the other business functions. Ideal IT/business alignment results in a complete lack of distinction between business and IT investments and initiatives. They are the same. At its heart, IT/business alignment is about expectations management. When a company sets business objectives, the expectation is that all functions, including IT, focus sufficient attention and resources on achieving them. In that sense, alignment applies to all business leaders. For the IT leader, it is particularly relevant due to IT's prevalence throughout all enterprise business capabilities. Why is IT/business alignment important? Alignment is a highly powerful concept. When a company rallies all of its resources to work together towards a common goal, it functions as a seamless unit, of one mind, optimizing its ability to perform in the marketplace. For the IT organization, alignment with the business means that the IT organization is deploying its resources and capabilities to best meet top business priorities. The importance of IT/business alignment is easiest to see when it is missing; when IT resources appear focused on
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