In the past, companies used to keep several departments separated from each other. This helped companies in establishing easy-to-maintain hierarchies. But, most of the companies have shifted to a less hierarchical structure. Still, the IT department of any company is treated as a separate area. Most of the companies don’t involve IT leaders in strategic planning.
Digital transformation is changing the business landscape. Thus, more and more companies are focusing on business IT-alignment. They are trying to involve their IT department in strategic planning and execution. Every business is affected by various factors like competitors, economy and industry. Similarly, the tools and knowledge of IT are also evolving with time. If you want a competitive advantage, then you must adapt to evolving technology.
According to a report by Gartner, more than 25 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. But, IT is not limited to connecting businesses only. IT will deliver you the agility and flexibility that your business requires. If you want to create the best strategy, then it is important to align your business and IT strategies.
Data analysis is also becoming important with time. Thus, you need to utilize your IT infrastructure effectively for proper strategic placing. Cybersecurity, risk assessment, and big data analytics are some areas where there should be an alignment between your IT and business strategies. It will help you in improving your decisions and optimizing the productivity of your company.
5 Steps for achieving Business-IT alignment
Communication plays an important role in achieving Business-IT alignment. There should be a good relationship between your company CTO and CEO. More than 75% of CFOs have involved in their business IT agenda. You can follow the below steps for improving Business-IT alignment.
First, you should identify all the gaps that make collaboration and communication difficulties in your organization. These gaps can occur due to language barriers between the IT and business worlds. Most of the times your IT and business team are thinking about different problems. They will think about business problems in different ways. Your main aim is to break down the communication barriers between the business and IT departments. This will help you in closing the misalignment gap. Communication is the most important thing will help you in removing the barriers between different departments.
Make your strategic Goals Clear
Both your IT and business leaders have the same goal. They want your business to succeed. This success can vary in form. But, your company vision should be clear to all the stakeholders in your company. Your business leaders might think about why your IT department wants new technology upgrades. They should focus on delivering old services. Thus, you must have clear strategic goals. If your business and IT leader’s goals are different, then it will increase the language barrier between them.
Give Priority to IT initiatives
First, you should create a list of all the alignment gaps in your company. However, it is not easy to fix all the alignment gaps. All enterprise has some capacity constraints. You can easily fix some gaps. But, some gaps are more important to fix. Thus, first, you must sort the list according to priority.
This is the most important step which will ensure your business success. Most of the organizations don’t evaluate their options. This results in failed or delayed projects. You will also go over the budget. A prioritized list of IT initiatives or fixes will be the starting point for your planning. You have to create a perfect roadmap for your IT. IT department and business leaders can think about IT solutions that will help them in accomplishing the strategic goals.
For example, banks should work on their digitalization strategy. They should create a strategy that will help them in capturing all the opportunities that are arising due to mass market adoptions. This will help them in expanding their services. You can achieve this by partnering up with ICT providers. These ICT players will help you in deploying complex ICT solutions that will be aligned with your business.
Hire a BRM or Business Relation Manager
In some companies, the misalignment is so serious that some departments can never work together. It is important to get professional assistance in such cases. First, you must hire a Business Relation Manager or BRM for your company. Your BRM will help you to facilitate convergence and realignment. A Business Relation Manager knows everything about business operations and processes. They also have the technical expertise which will be helpful in communicating effectively with your IT department. Your BRM will help you in bridging the gap between the business and IT leaders. They will act as a diplomat or translator between your business and IT department. Thus, a BRM will help you in improving the relationship between your different department stakeholders. This will make sure that your IT and business capabilities are used effectively.
You can use the above steps for achieving business-IT alignment. This will help your business in doing a better job of utilizing your resources. First, you must identify the gaps in your company. After that, you can work on fixing these gaps. You can also hire a Business Relation Manager for your company. They will help you in improving the communication between your IT and business department. Technology is becoming important for every company. Thus, you must give the highest priority to business-IT alignment. You can’t succeed by using outdated models. It is important to switch to a more converged model. This will help you in improving the teamwork.