This article from Business/IT-Alignment rehashes a much longer document's main points about the nature of business and IT's relationship. The main point being this: business/IT alignment is just as much about having the right mindset as it is about having the right tools and processes in place. One of the points the blog post brings up is a story about business not being satisfied (despite IT's key performance indicators all saying everything was OK):
We recently heard several utility staff say that “all IT KPI's are green but the business is not happy”. Technically the IT function delivers what it should deliver: the IT infrastructure and business applications are reliable and incidents are dealt within the agreed time frames. But IT KPI's are not always linked to business KPI's: Server uptime for instance is not the same as Allocation process uptime. This is just one of the many cases we encounter where IT is not aligned with business and business is not in alignment with IT. Other cases have to do with rigidity of protocols, poor prioritization processes, unfit organization structures, unclear IT leadership and lack of business sponsorship at IT changes. These cases are symptoms of a situation where investments in IT remain significantly unleveraged.
The problem in this case is two-fold : there is a lack of communication about what satisfies the business' needs, but also a lack of understanding from IT on why certain measurements are more important than others. A better mindset by IT (in both how to support the business and how to enable IT to become a strategic asset) can help secure a place in the board-room and planning sessions for any IT organization.