5 Questions to Ask About Your Business-Infomation Technology (IT) Alignment

In the context of an organization,

  • Business is the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for something (e.g., money, services, barter, etc.).
  • Information Technology (IT) is the use of any type of technology to achieve the current and future goals of the business.
  • Alignment is the ability of two or more individuals/teams/groups/departments to be in agreement with each other as to what needs to be accomplished.

Thus, Business-IT Alignment is an agreement between IT and Business (non-IT) parts of the organization to use data and various computer systems to make/buy/sell things and provide services. These things and services can be provided internally (e.g., purchasing enterprise hardware and software, help desk services, etc.) and externally (e.g., selling enterprise hardware and software, cloud services, etc.).

Ideally, when an organization is being run like a well-oiled machine where all parts know their goals, roles, and responsibilities and know how to frictionlessly collaborate with each other there would not be any need for Business-IT Alignment. Unfortunately, most organizations aren’t run like a well-oiled machine. Most organizations are usually misaligned in terms of People, Processes, Products, Services, and Technology. To understand why Business-IT Alignment happens, here are a few things that can happen in organizations from a Business (non-IT) perceptive:

On the flip side, there are a few things that can happen in organizations from an IT perspective:

  • IT strategy is late and misaligned with business strategy
  • Depending on where/who IT head reports determine what say/respect (if any) IT has
  • IT in-house innovative solutions can be costly to maintain
  • IT culture makes fun of non-IT folks in regards to Business’ lack of IT knowledge
  • IT forgets that execution requires relationship-building and nice communications

Now that the dirty laundry of both Business and IT has been revealed, let’s move on to what questions we need to ask to begin in the journey of Business-IT Alignment:

Currently

  1. Who is responsible for defining and managing the organization’s Digital Transformation?
  2. What is being accomplished with Digital Transformation?
  3. Where does the Digital Transformation start and end?
  4. When is Digital Transformation relevant?
  5. Why Digital Transformation is happening?

In the Future

  1. Who should be responsible for defining and managing the organization’s Digital Transformation?
  2. What do you want to accomplish with Digital Transformation?
  3. Where should the Digital Transformation start and end?
  4. When should Digital Transformation be relevant?
  5. Why should the Digital Transformation happen?

If it is not clear by now, Business-IT Alignment is, directly and indirectly, the responsibility of Business, IT and all the individuals/teams/groups/departments led by all levels of leadership (executive, middle and front-line).

Originally published at http://arsalankhan.com on August 5, 2019.

Speaker | Advisor | Blogger (ArsalanKhan.com)

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