Sunday, December 09, 2007

Life on the other side of the table: Businness - IT Alignment

Business - IT alignment is the most talked about issue amongst It professionals, consultants, analysts and senior management. Take any Corporate IT strategy report, and you will find a chunk of pages dedicated to IT Governance framework with components such as Steering Committees for prioritisation and monitoring of IT projects, Project Management Office, etc. But does governance framework alone ensure business - IT alignment? Why is then that only few organizations successfully leverage information technology and achieve business excellence while most others fail?

While most of the time organization spend efforts and energies in aligning their IT departments with business, hardly any effort is made to see whether business is aligned towards IT. While the former is a necessary condition, it is not a sufficient condition for organizations to use IT as an effective enabler and catalyst to achieve business objectives and goals.

By this, I do not mean that IT should drive business and business should compromise on its requirements while deploying IT systems. Indeed, business should drive IT. On occasions, IT departments tend to implement systems and technologies without understanding the real relevance and need for IT systems and technologies. At times, such decisions are taken to merely please the stakeholders or as an industry best practice or even to fulfil the academic interest and CV objectives of certain individuals. Initiatives with such intentions are bound to fail; they deserve to fail; and they do fail.

By suggesting IT orientation of business, I mean something else. But more about it later.

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