IT Best PracticesProject Portfolio Management

Business and IT alignment – really?

Business/IT alignment is something that Frank Buytendijk gets frustrated about. Beginning this blog post by citing an email he got that could have easily been from 1983 discussing IT and business alignment. Buytendijk’s argument is that IT is doing too much to try to align to business. Instead, both sides need to help each other however possible. He also explains, however, that IT isn’t always the worst culprit in failures along the alignment side of business: Then, let’s discuss Business/Business alignment. How many times is IT struggling with suboptimal business cases, based on budget held by the business, by having to put in a departmental solutions, because each department is “unique”? IT is often found to be “nerdy” and having “no sense of urgency” for talking about architecture and infrastructure. True, IT driven projects are usually not very successful (the business will see to that), but the only thing worse is a business driven project. Short-term successful, but ill-architected, nothing repeatable, and lots of them combined form one big negative ROI in two years down the road. It is the role of IT to see commonality between functional requirements, and take an integrated approach. It would be a lot easier if the business departments would align with, well, the other business departments, instead of IT having that struggle all the time themselves.   Buytendijk argues that IT/business alignment is something of the past. Now, he says, the name of the game is value chain integration, aligning stakeholders around the same business model. This means integrated logistics, increased communication, and thereby making business alignment and strategy instantaneous.

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