Emphasizing the Value of Business and IT Alignment
Did you know that research firm, Gartner, found that 70% of large enterprises are speeding up their digital business initiatives?
Digital technology is what drives the business strategies of today. Digital tools are used to help customers run day-to-day operations and strategize for short- and long-term growth. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic and other destabilizing events of the last couple of years have made companies of all sizes pay more attention to digital transformation. Entire workforces went remote, with many still not returning to the offices, only emphasizing how accelerating digital transformation is crucial to meet modern business demands.
All evidence points to digital transformation as key to the long-term success of a business, and IT is the way to get there. IT was previously thought of as only being in charge of keeping systems running and fixing tech problems like resetting passwords or provisioning laptops.
Today, however, IT teams are being asked to play important roles in managing day-to-day operations and bringing new products and services to market. At the same time, they are requested to put in place and take care of new tools that the whole organization needs.
Too often, the people in charge of IT and the people in charge of the business have different goals and strategies. To no one’s surprise, departments that are separated tend to stay separate. Today, businesses won’t be able to take advantage of the business benefits of digital transformation without a comprehensive strategy that aligns IT goals with business goals.
Why Should You Care About Business and IT Alignment?
Most companies agree that their business and IT departments don’t work together as closely as they could to improve the quality of their services and products. The reason often given? Technology is very different from how traditional business units work. There are also: Misconceptions about how business sees IT and how IT sees business are kept alive by stereotypes. IT is hard for people who aren’t in IT to understand, and they might not realize that IT is involved in key activities that bring in money, like sales, marketing, customer service, etc.
In the 21st century, these stereotypes are changing, but different fields still have different cultures, goals, incentives, languages, and skill sets. It’s why writing makes sense to some people and why numbers and spreadsheets make more sense to others.
Even though roles like CTOs and CIOs have become more important, tech leadership still has a lot of trouble working with business units. You might be able to easily spot a bad relationship between IT and business. Problems like these are often signs that these differences are hurting your business.
- Underperforming and/or not doing well enough
- Investing money that doesn’t bring back much
- Service delivery is slowed down by bottlenecks, such as deployments that are too slow or have bugs.
- There are problems (and maybe even fights) between processes and solutions.
- Customer service that is unclear or not very good
- Poor support and communication for end users and possible customers
No matter what you sell or do, you have to turn your business into a tech business today. This change is unavoidable, and it brings with it the idea of IT-business alignment, which says that IT helps business and business drives IT efforts. Neither is less important than the other, and both bring in money.
Business and IT Alignment Benefits
When IT and business are in sync, there are many benefits, and we’ve picked out some of the most prominent ones:
- Cut IT costs.
- Stronger collaboration and ability to spot issues.
- Fine-tune investments to increase return on investment (ROI).
- Faster time to market.
- Sync up all of your units to become Agile.
- Improve the skills of your business and your employees.
- Make smarter decisions in every area, such as infrastructure design, application life cycles, planning and budgeting, marketing and sales, outsourcing, staffing, partnerships and vendors, etc.
All of these benefits lead to great experiences for your customers, which helps your bottom line. Next, we’ve picked out the top three benefits of business and IT alignment to further drill down on what they represent for your business.
Cut IT Costs
Most small and medium-sized businesses have limited resources, so they need to get the most out of every technology investment they make if they want to compete with large businesses. Aligning IT with business strategy is important if you want to make sure that all resources are used as well as possible, helping you trim down IT costs along the way where necessary. Businesses that don’t align their IT with their business goals can easily waste a lot of money, time, and person-hours on gadgets and trends that don’t really help them reach their business goals.
Faster Time to Market
Putting in place technology solutions just for the sake of putting them in place can make it harder for an organization to reach its business goals. When IT solutions are chosen with the business strategy in mind, they are much more likely to do what they are supposed to do and keep the organization on the right path instead of taking it off track.
The same IT solutions can also become a valuable source of valuable data, which can help the organization’s leaders make business decisions based on hard data instead of subjective opinions and past experience. Even though making decisions based on data may seem hard, cloud-based tools make it easy.
Business and IT alignment helps getting products and services to the customer faster as a result of working in concert. For example, the direct alignment of marketing or sales with IT ensures customer satisfaction and experience feedback data is captured and delivered to product or service teams in real-time, enabling them to act and respond quickly.
Make Smarter Decisions
Digitization and automation make it possible to collect data in real time from different departments, locations, and units of an organization, as well as from employees. This gives full and real-time visibility of all business areas. With strong and cohesive business and IT alignment, business leaders and senior management can get full visibility of their processes, areas of opportunity, and employees, making it easy to spot where improvements are needed.
When teams can get accurate data right away, they can work better together and be more productive. This will lead to the best use of resources and higher productivity, which will help businesses reach their goals.