The importance of business and IT alignment
When an organization’s business strategy and IT strategy are not aligned, achieving business objectives becomes difficult because the same solutions that were supposed to help can quickly become a burden.
What’s worse, the lack of alignment between business and IT can make it nearly impossible to plan technology purchases, resulting in a lot of wasted time and money.
Why IT strategy and business strategy don’t always align
According to PwC’s Innovation Benchmark Report, which surveyed 1,200 executives in 44 countries, 54 percent of executives struggle to align innovation strategy with business strategy.
There are a few common reasons:
- Shiny object syndrome: Business leaders who have an innate interest in technology sometimes suffer the “shiny object syndrome,” whose main symptom is the attraction to new technologies that don’t have anything to offer to the organization in terms of helping it achieve its business objectives.
- Leadership changes: It’s easy for one leader’s goals and beliefs to influence the entire organization and its strategy. When leadership changes and someone else steps in, it’s common for IT investment decisions to be reversed in favor of new ones. Unless well thought out, such changes can completely erase any IT and business strategy alignment.
- Don’t fix what works mentality: Some organizations cling to outdated technology as if it was the holy grail, not realizing that it no longer aligns with their business strategy, which typically revolves around agility and flexibility. What the leadership of such organizations doesn’t understand is that new technology is often not just more capable but also more reliable.
- Poor communication: When IT decision-makers don’t clearly understand the organization’s strategy and vision, they can’t make technology decisions that align with it. In virtually all cases, this source of misalignment between IT strategy and business strategy is caused by poor communication at the organizational level.
The benefits of achieving IT and business strategy alignment
IT business alignment is well worth the effort it takes to achieve it because there are many benefits that organizations can reap as a reward.
1. Increased Competitiveness
Because technology underpins every aspect of how organizations operate, it has a tremendous potential to increase competitiveness—but only when it’s implemented with the overall business model and plan in mind. Indeed, merely using technology without an alignment with the overall business goals is a waste of time these days.
2. Improved Focus on Business Objectives
Implementing technology solutions for the sake of implementing technology solutions can have a detrimental effect on an organization’s ability to pursue business objectives. When IT solutions are selected with the business strategy in mind, they can much better serve their purpose and keep the organization on the right course, instead of derailing it from it.
The same IT solutions can also become an invaluable source of invaluable data, helping the organization’s leadership make informed business decisions based on hard data instead of subjective opinions and past experience. While data-driven decision-making may seem complicated, today’s cloud-based tools make it effortless.
3. Better Resource Utilization
Most small and medium-sized organizations operate with fairly limited resources, so they must make every technology investment count in order to successfully compete with large enterprises. Aligning IT with business strategy is crucial for making sure that all available resources are used as effectively as possible.
Organizations, where IT business alignment is non-existent, can easily waste a lot of time and money pursuing shiny gadgets and trends that are not really worth pursuing because they don’t help them achieve their business goals.
While understanding the importance of aligning IT strategy with business strategy is the first step in achieving the desired alignment, it’s certainly not the only one. It requires regular reviews, excellent communication, and the technical ability to implement the IT solutions that best meet the organization’s needs and requirements.
About Plow Networks
Plow Networks is a leading IT services provider, connecting businesses to technology since 2012. With deep expertise in network, cloud, and end user support services, we partner with clients to leverage technology in ways that simplify operations and fuel growth. Plow Networks is based in Brentwood, Tennessee.