How to Effectively Align IT to Achieve Your Strategic Business Goals

In today’s volatile and hyper-competitive business environment, survival (let alone, success) has become a major challenge. The basic foundation strategy for any business is to align Information Technology (IT) with business goals. A company should have clear business goals and employ its IT organization to precisely achieve these goals. Companies can build a state-of- the-art IT infrastructure, but if it is not representative of the overall business goals, it will be ineffective, if not completely useless.

 

Businesses Must View IT as a Strategic Partner

The value of IT is often not understood by business executives (and some IT executives). Many CIOs are not invited to participate in any of the organization-wide strategic planning and decision-making, and the business isn’t interested in strategic IT planning. However, alignment is critical to the successful deployment of IT and involves attitude changes in both IT and the business. The IT organization must have a clear understanding of what’s important to the business, and be positioned to best address business needs.

Furthermore, businesses should be aware of their IT resources, which they often neglect to do. This is important because their business’ competitiveness depends a lot on the quality of their technology resources and whether these resources are efficient enough to meet changing market needs. Nevertheless, according to a 2015 CIO Executive Council (CEC) survey, just 3% of IT leaders view themselves as business game changers—drivers of the enterprise’s competitive future (down from 8% in the CEC’s 2014 study).

CEOs recognize that new technologies are radically changing the way they do business, and understand that surviving the new technology revolution requires long-term thinking and investment. Leading the game plan, with business leaders’ support, is a perfect role for the CIO.

IT Must Enhance the Awareness of its Value to the Business

IT strategies tend to focus mainly on technology and fail to encompass other areas. They are often “too technical” and written in a language the business cannot understand. IT strategy management requires a highly-specialized skill set and resource commitment. It is rarely successful if approached in a silo.

Any business-IT alignment strategy must ultimately pursue one goal—continually optimize returns to the business from IT investments, efforts, and expenditures. Every IT activity, project, or service must play a part in creating business value. Also, an IT agenda must work towards achieving business-related metrics in order to improve alignment.

The key success factor for aligning IT spending and efforts with business needs is enterprise- wide leadership and accountability—business leaders must lead IT, and CIOs must become business leaders. Executive business management must be continuously involved in plans and decisions regarding the use of information technology—identifying, authorizing, prioritizing, and implementing opportunities to use information—assuring that all IT activities contribute to the goals, objectives, and strategies of the business.

Alignment Is a Process Not a Project

IT service management (ITSM) training enables you to align IT services with the unique needs of your business. By extending service management into the business, your organization gains the process-based best practices needed to respond to rapid change, maximize resources, and address customer needs. Learn more about our complete ITSM training portfolio to help your IT organization partner with the business to ensure continual improvement processes across the organization.

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