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Mission Impossible: The Elusive IT Alignment

Patrick Gray argues for TechRepublic that there’s no reason to believe that IT-business alignment is always a favorable scenario. And when it is, there’s no reason to expect perfection:

Even with the utility and project execution capabilities of your IT organization well under control, you still may find it impossible to achieve alignment with your business peers if there’s no comprehensive business strategy.

Moving Targets

In the IT strategy game, alignment is actually not fixed. It’s a moving target. So don’t get down if you’re effectively in sync with marketing but not sales, linked up with organizational priorities but out of whack with the finance function. What matters is that you have a strategy and are actively engaged with those outside of IT. However, sometimes the company you work for doesn’t have a cohesive strategy itself.

Strategy-Bereft Enterprise

Take a look around your organization. Are the various operational heads focused on their own internal agendas, presenting conflicting metrics and viewpoints at corporate meetings? If the answer is a resounding “You betcha,” then you’re working in a strategy vacuum where IT alignment is truly impossible (After all, what would you be aligning with?):

If there are no key organizational metrics, that’s your first clue that there’s no comprehensive strategy, since every effective strategy needs to highlight a way to track progress.

Battling for Alignment

But there are ways for you to take the bull by the horns. Crisis is always a convenient way to express your concerns and wishes. Whether the company is in ‘survival mode,’ the middle of a merger / acquisition, or is just growing complacent, you can wrestle the corporate beast to the ground by expressing a desire to develop joint metrics. Be the first to bat for strategy, and reap the rewards accordingly.

Barring that approach, you’ll be left to discern your company’s drivers and contrive the best, most flexible strategy you can. When true alignment becomes impossible, IT can still roll up its sleeves and make the most of organizational strategy.

Read the original article at: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/mission-impossible-the-elusive-it-alignment/

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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