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.
Internal SLAs: Business Expectations Must Match IT Resources It is an excellent practice for IT to establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the business units it serves. However, it is dangerous to establish targets that exceed current experience without ensuring additional resources and funding. Balancing Reality and Business Unit Satisfaction An SLA must be realistic and practical for both IT and the business. It must reflect business unit expectations and requirements, but it must also create a balance between what is requested and what the clients are willing to pay. Establishing an achievable service level for the help desk, for example, is determined by its current staffing level, the skill set of the analysts, and the tools they use to track calls. The highest service level requested by a business unit for a shared resource or service (e.g. help desks, servers, and networks) will generally establish the service level for all. Any investment in improving the performance for one business unit will generally require an investment for improving overall performance. Better Performance Means Higher Costs During an SLA negotiation, it is normal for the business unit to set performance expectations higher than actual practice. Users may want extended hours of support for the help desk, higher availability for Internet applications, and faster turnaround time for evaluating change requests. To close the gap between actual and desired metrics and service levels, an investment has to be made in labor or capital. For example, if the help desk is not currently tracking all calls, it may be necessary to purchase or build a call tracking tool. Projects to extend measurement or to improve performance should be handled and prioritized like all other requests for IT staffing and budgets. IT management should not agree to additional service level measurement or performance improvement until the necessary projects are approved and completed. R
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