Blogging AllianceDigital DisruptionIT-Business AlignmentLeadership/InnovationLeigh Espy

5 Benefits of Aligning Business with IT Strategy

Traditionally, IT departments have existed to provide services requested by the business.  They have responded as needed and performed functions to meet customer demands.

However, there has been a shift in recent years with various advancements in the technology field.

Every company has its strategic business goals that it wants to promote. IT has goals of its own. However, these two areas—to be most effective—cannot work in silos. It is now more important for business owners and IT to work in alignment with one another for maximum benefit.

Business leaders request certain technologies and it is important to have a look at the company landscape to ensure that it aligns with the overall long-range strategy.

As for the IT department, it should ensure the solutions it is currently using are valuable to and support the business needs of the organization.

The team members also need to understand industry trends and emerging technologies to stay competitive.

Both perspectives are valuable.

Here are the five reasons why it is important to align business and IT during the planning stage and keep the conversation going.

  1. Business capabilities rely more and more on technology. To deliver business capabilities such as asset management, order management, etc. technology plays a key role. The connection between business and IT is crucial to the organization’s success.
  2. Aligning business with IT strategy saves money. By aligning business with IT, an organization can leverage opportunities to enhance productivity and standardize processes, making the organization more efficient. Utilizing shared data provides opportunities for better decision-making. Partnering helps to identify and reduce duplication of services across the organization. There are various ways to reduce costs through IT and business alignment.
  3. Cyber security needs are increasing: There are increasing threats to organizations these days. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated. Human nature leaves employees open to phishing schemes. IT and security teams need to develop and implement a strong security strategy that protects both the company and its customers. Employees are working remotely and working on systems via VPN access, so data is even harder to protect. Data risks need to be understood and addressed via technologies, processes, and policies.
  4. Technology is changing quickly. Solutions that worked a few years ago are either obsolete or can cost more to maintain and support. Instead of looking at short-term fixes for business needs, IT can help organizations develop a long-range strategy that can more easily adapt to changing needs. The department can look at customer needs, use data to determine trends and gaps, create an architecture that supports needed growth and change. Businesses can then gain or maintain a competitive advantage by staying ahead of technology needs and trends.
  5. Organizations must address legal, compliance and regulatory concerns regarding data. This requires that IT be heavily involved in developing and supporting solutions to address these needs. The organization as a whole must follow the established protocols, and IT needs to understand and support the established standards and practices. For example, data access and retention policies must be well understood and supported by IT solutions.

Alignment between business and IT are important on multiple levels, as each side brings value to the table and supports organizational goals and projects.  Establishing alignment is not an activity that can be done quickly or can be left alone once done. It requires quarterly reviews to make sure that technology continues to support business strategy. This ensures that company resources are allocated responsibly and used more effectively to achieve corporate goals.

The effort is worth the investment.

 

For more brilliant insights, check out Leigh’s blog: ProjectBliss.net

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