What is IT-business alignment? Why is it important?



IT and business must follow the same rules. Why is it that so many companies struggle to achieve IT-business alignment

Like many other IT executives, RJ Juliano doesn’t differentiate between business and technology goals. He views them both as one.

Juliano, the senior vice-president and chief information and market officer at Parkway Corp. in Philadelphia, said that “we need to get beyond alignment to where our objectives are unified, indistinguishable.”

Juliano has found that a combined IT/business approach results in more substantial teams, meaningful dialogue, competitive advantages, and long-term sustainability for the company and brand.

He said that the right relationship is key to achieving company goals and engaging customers and employees. Furthermore, it drives innovation in products and processes.

Sharon Stufflebeme is the managing director of the Protiviti technology consulting practice. She said that the CIO’s current role is to influence, anticipate and deliver the company’s business strategies.

She said that CIOs cannot anticipate, influence, or deliver on their needs if they don’t know. IT-business alignment is essential for this to occur in an organization.

What is IT-business alignment?

Researchers, executives, and management consultants have always stressed the importance of IT and other business functions to align their strategies and priorities.

Information technology is now a vital component of an enterprise’s main engine, not a supporting role. Computer technology has been a driving force behind business growth for decades. The internet and digitalization have transformed how people interact with each other and how they work. This makes IT-business alignment crucial to business success.

Rebecca Gasser (CIO, Omnicom Health Group) spoke about the benefits of IT-business alignment. She said that while some of the technology is fundamental, such as infrastructure and networks, a lot of it is the technology that gives the business a competitive edge.

Although IT-business alignment is widely acknowledged today, it has not been the norm in most organizations until recent decades, according to Darren Topham (a senior research director at Gartner), a tech research advisory firm.

The IT department was initially focused on providing computing software, hardware, and services as a utility. Topham stated that technology was a tool to aid workers in their everyday tasks. IT’s success was measured by its reliability and uptime.

This paradigm has changed over time, especially as technology executives joined forces with business and C-level colleagues to use technology for reengineering work, products, and services.

This caused a wave of disruption as startups created entirely new business models while legacy companies changed their processes and market offerings.

Topham stated that CIOs and IT teams must continue to provide valuable services in technology. They must be able to think about how technology can help shape the offerings of the enterprise’s products and services and the delivery methods.

He explained that this is where the alignment is realized. “This is where both sides bring something to the table for mutual benefits. There is no “them” or “us.”

Topham said: “The ultimate expression of this is the digital business.”

What is the importance of IT business alignment?

IT-business alignment is a way to ensure that both the IT organization and the business units work together in a coordinated manner and move in the right direction.

Technology can be exciting, but it is often expensive and does not work as well as we had hoped. Gasser stated that partnering with the technology team and aligning can help ensure that the ROI is present, supported, and the right fit for business.

Studies and surveys support the importance of IT-business alignment.

Gartner’s report, “The CIO’s role in Preparing For Digital Business Acceleration,” states that more than 70% of senior leaders recognize digital technology as an integral part of revenue achievement, product development, and customer engagement and are advancing their strategic, operational processes.

Gartner’s “2023 Evolution of CIO Responsibilities” Survey found that 83% of respondents said they “increasingly focus on enterprise-level initiatives beyond traditional IT delivery executive roles.”

Meanwhile, “IT’s changing mandate in an age of disruption,” a 2023 report from The Economist Intelligence Unit based on a survey of more than 1,000 IT decision-makers and senior business executives, found that 83% believe adapting to external change requires moderate-to-considerable IT infrastructure and apps improvement.

Protiviti’s Stufflebeme stated that IT must be used to support every business function, as technology has become ubiquitous. IT-business alignment ensures that every business function is served by the best technology, allowing it to meet key performance indicators and achieve its business transformation goals.

Stufflebeam stated that a lack of IT-business alignment is a significant barrier to organizations’ market success.

She said that technology could work but not deliver the results the business requires if alignment is lacking. “Technology solutions can end up being bridges to nowhere. You have business problems that don’t get adequately solved or initiatives that are not sufficiently implemented, whether they’re cost-saving or efficiency-enhancing,


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