Business-IT alignment aligns IT with a business organisation’s strategies, missions, and goals. Business-IT alignment (B/I alignment) is the process by which a business organisation uses information technology (IT) to meet business objectives, usually improving financial performance or market competitiveness. It is also defined as an organisation’s commitment to realise the positive association between IT usage and stated & accepted measures of financial and business performance. Business alignment is the collection of processes that can help the operations, systems, and departments of an enterprise all work together in pursuit of an organisation’s values, mission, and long-term goals.
Moreover, the key performance metrics or indicators provide evidence that the business-IT alignment benefits the organisation by helping to ensure that the various departments are working together towards the shared goals.
Maintaining accountability across an organisation is another practice that provides a number of key benefits, and Business-IT alignment can help do this more effectively. Another benefit to aligning your IT strategy with your business goals is to take your stakeholders on board with any upcoming changes. Aligning IT strategies with business goals helps to make informed decisions and ensures that everyone is working toward the same goals and on the same page.
To get B/I alignment, organisations need to make better decisions, considering both the business and IT disciplines. For that reason, the B/I alignment framework also includes enterprise transformation, where organisations re-engineer how they do things to achieve efficiencies made possible by the new IT. Business-IT alignment prioritises integration in order to lower the costs of doing business, improve profits, and increase efficiency across an entire organisation. Aligning business and IT goals helps organisations to reap the benefits of digital transformation while also mitigating the risk of failure.
Successful alignment of the business can help the organisation predict the potential impact of different actions or decisions with greater precision. The enhanced coordination provided by business alignment can facilitate identifying and responding to any potential risks for a business.
While there is no single best way to achieve alignment, having a point where IT and the company’s strategy align improves the organisation’s agility and operating effectiveness. This presents significant challenges, as most models for aligning assume that an existing business strategy exists for the IT organisation to align with. Given the fact that it is perceived to be a force for positive change, it is in an organisation’s best interest to avoid an ego clash and try to align the IT strategy with its business strategy to make the business more successful. It will require establishing harmony between the two areas to avoid friction between the decision-makers from the business/corporate departments and the IT departments.
To make achieving strong business-IT alignment possible, the organisation can rotate employees among those functions, so they gain working knowledge and personal experience with what it is like on the other side.
While organisations may change structure to improve relationships between groups in business, responsibility for making such alignment occur depends on a personal level as well. The key to a successful business-IT alignment is creating value at every stage in the organisation’s internal and external process value chains. IT business alignment helps to ensure the business gets the right technologies at the right times to achieve their KPIs and achieve their goals and objectives for business transformation–whether these are improving customer experience or developing new revenue streams.
Not only is this about making sure that IT strategy satisfies your business needs, but aligning IT with your business objectives also means that you are making sure that how risks and opportunities surrounding technology are managed in your company is best. If you are responsible for developing the IT in your organisation to support your organisation’s business goals, then you must be at the top of your game when it comes to strategic thinking. In today’s digital economy, it is critical for the technology supporting the company’s goals to align and be integrated with strategy. Implementing IT for maximum business value involves not just the technology components but the change management components of an organisation as well.
To stay competitive, ensure that all stakeholders are working toward the same goals and maximise the value of finite resources with the help of the business IT solutions. To further enhance alignment, one should strive for metrics aligned with business objectives. Essentially, the IT department should aim at attaining business-related metrics rather than IT metrics only. IT needs to improve the accountability of its results, but it should also make business responsible.
IT-business alignment is often described as a holy grail for an organisation to aspire towards because of the substantial benefits that come from alignment between IT and the corporate strategy, as far as the considerable value can be added to an organisation, provided it is used strategically and effectively. The alignment is worth the efforts it takes to reach it as there are huge benefits to it. In a true sense, business-IT goals alignment means every investment, project, or activity that is made with technology should be about helping to create and deliver value for an organisation. BRM also aligns the objectives of the business to the service providers’ activities and delivers results that are required by the business. There is no need to worry if your business is small and finds it harder to keep up with the technological advancements, as you can consult professionals or collaborate with a business that has a global service desk to help you explore new market opportunities.
In a nutshell, business-IT alignment has become essential to remain competitive and explore new opportunities to help your business to reach new heights. It’s no longer possible to rely only on the tried and tested methods to remain successful, as technology has widened our horizons, and consumers expect nothing less than perfection to support your business.