By aligning business goals and IT strategies, organizations can achieve the best return on their IT investment
In today’s turbulent and competitive business environment, survival not even success has become a major challenge. The basic foundation strategy that any type of business should follow is to align Information Technology (IT) with business goals.
The demands on IT today are staggering. Most organizations depend on their data to drive everything from product development and sales to communications, operations, and innovation. As a result, IT departments are charged with finding a way to bring new applications online quickly, accommodate massive data growth and complex data analysis, and make data available 24 hours a day, around the world, on any device.
Aligning an organization’s business strategy with its IT strategy generally improves the company’s overall performance. It can lead to more efficient processes, the development of better products and services, cost reductions, faster response times, and more efficient supply chain management. To achieve strategic alignment, the IT strategy should be developed at the same time as the business strategy, and integrated into it.
Because aligning business strategy with IT strategy tends to have a positive impact on organizations, strategic alignment should be a top priority for entrepreneurs. They should regard IT as a way of meeting business goals and providing value.
How to Align IT and Business Strategies
To achieve alignment, one must first identify the sources of misalignment. If profitability or performance does not meet expectations, there must be denumerable reasons why this is so. According to Strassmann (1998), the following are critical success factors for aligning IT with business goals:
1. Alignment Must Show Enhancements to a Business Plan,
2. Alignment Must Remain Updated as the Business Evolves,
3. Alignment Must Overcome Obstacles to its Purposes,
4. Alignment Must Relate to Benefits.
Many companies struggle to maintain a tight relationship between their business and IT functions. But creating an IT-enabled business strategy is worth the effort. By integrating their business and IT strategies, organizations tend to perform better, increase revenues, and gain a competitive edge. The key success factor for aligning IT spending and efforts with business needs is mutual leadership and accountability. Regardless of its role, every IT activity, project, or service must play a part in creating business value.