In alignment with the digital age, IT has transitioned from a supporting business function to an indispensable and inextricably linked indicator of business performance. But despite the importance of its role, when it comes to business strategy, it can often end up an afterthought.
In Gartner’s 2018 CIO Survey, just 23% of respondents rated their organisation as effective or very effective at business strategy and planning, and only 29% rated their organisation as effective or very effective at IT strategy and planning.
To address this, an aligned approach is key. IT must be at the centre of a company’s business strategy. Where the CIO is required to implement key functionalities to support a business’ bottom line, they are a key contributor to the direction of the overall business. Without this, IT can only ever react to business demands.
At Amdaris, when we work with an organisation, we go beyond the development of functional solutions. We develop responses that are intrinsic to the direction of a business, helping organisations achieve its vision. With a rigorous on-boarding process, our experts become an extension to the team.
To understand how IT can play a more prominent role, a business first needs to consider its actual business needs against strategic goals. Ensuring this is implemented before prescribing a solution, will also save time and money later down the line.
A fully integrated solution will ensure every aspect of the IT strategy supports the goals of the business. This means that every IT related investment, activity, service or project must create or optimise business value. To further improve alignment, IT should also be looking to achieve business-related metrics. Not IT related ones.
But alignment is not the sole responsibility of IT. Leadership teams need to be aware of their IT resources, where it can often be neglected. They must also understand how technology plays a key role in business effectivity, and how it can impact its competitiveness as well as the speed of response to market change.
The key to an aligned IT and business strategy is mutual leadership and accountability. IT must increase accountability for their results, but they must also hold the business accountable for IT.
What are the benefits of alignment?
Utilising an IT-business alignment model can help improve your business’ performance, leading to more effective processes, faster response times and more efficient supply chains. This is because all aspects of a business are not only working towards common goals, but are aware of what other business areas are doing too:
- IT supports the business strategy, adds value and drives success
- Easier to control and manage risk and compliance issues
- Meets the IT demands consistently and efficiently
- Increases the agility of the business and allows it to react to change
- Creates greater integration and collaboration between departments
- Everyone is working towards a common goal
To help an organisation determine how technology is helping – or hindering – business growth, leadership teams should review IT strategy alongside business strategy on a quarterly basis.
This process benefits greatly from an external consultant. For companies without an internal IT team, the consultant provides important technical insight. And where companies do have an internal IT team, the consultant provides an objective point of view.
Although aligning the IT and business strategy takes time and cooperation, it is an exercise worth completing. When IT is working to support business goals it leads to happier, more productive teams, smarter investments and greater return.
To find out more about how we can help you with your next project, please get in touch.