A hot topic of discussion among IT executives is how to align IT with business strategy. But this issue has failed to gain traction because very little has been done to nurture the alignment.
IT-business alignment starts to take off
The alignment involves more than communicating the business strategy to the IT department. It requires a collaborative effort to ensure that IT is in the best position to directly contribute to the delivery of business outcomes.
This is so important to IT professionals that it could take precedence over achieving technical orchestration and overall process excellence. CIOs could have differentiated themselves years ago by focusing on this alignment, but it’s not too late, there’s still time. The 2018 State of the CIO report shows that collaboration between heads of IT and business leaders continues to increase.
A sound alignment enables the business to make strategic IT investments instead of relying on mimicking competitors. IT services must be implemented in line with the enterprise because it makes good business sense and yields an ROI.
The benefit of IT-business alignment
Sort out your data: The focus should now be on building an agile enterprise architecture. Key to this will be to effectively sort out customer data. Your enterprise cannot hope to get marketing, sales and customer service right without a customer-centric strategy. It also involves helping the business to better predict customer demand. That’s where predictive and prescriptive analytics comes in.
The war against cybercrime: CIOs must draw up a robust security plan because cybercriminals rely on attacking an enterprise that has VPN access. This is because data is not systematically protected. Speak to the IT professionals because there needs to be a better understanding of where the data risks lie. Additionally, one must align all security investments, policies, processes and actions in line with this.
Remain competitive: When enterprises use IT to ramp up their operations, they benefit from economies of scale. And this can be used to expand into newer geographical and virtual market segments because using IT often results in an anywhere, anytime, everywhere, every time experience for end users. For this to be possible, IT and business functions must work together as a cohesive unit. IT must become a tool for transformation and a source of sustained competitive advantage.
CIOs are starting to play a significant role in helping the business to drive innovation. It's refreshing to know that businesses are starting to recognise the value of IT's contribution. Almost half (49%) of the business respondents in the CIO report consider IT a strategic adviser for proactively identifying new opportunities. The knowledge and tools of IT constantly evolve, so if the CIO and IT executive are not talking to each other, this could lead to a stagnant business.
The journey to advanced IT maturity is less about competence in technology and something more human, which is often harder to achieve. The business will move up the maturity curve when employees stop working around IT. Business leaders must ask IT's advice on how they can achieve their goals. What's more important is how the business perceives and interacts with IT.
As the world becomes more reliant on IT, its alignment with business is now a necessity. Keep in mind when taking on the challenge of this alignment that it needs to be re-evaluated annually and tenfold when modifications are made to the corporate direction. For technology to work in a business, it requires the acknowledgement that IT is an enabler and an integral part of the long-term success of the organisation. Gain a better understanding of what’s happening in the IT world, by downloading our trend report .
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