There is a fundamental shift happening in the world of information technology, one that has been evident before the “new normal” became just normal. There continues to be an accelerated demand towards the evolution of IT, primarily because IT leaders must be the first among those in the organization to grasp and accommodate these shifts to maximize business performance.
The relationship between evolving IT and remaining agile is the strategic alignment of technology and business. The capabilities of technology surpass those of business practices and procedures. IT is no longer a supporting role, but rather a leading function. You create organizational and market possibilities through technology. But how do you remain agile when IT culture and infrastructure is forever advancing? The first step is to decipher where the disconnect exists that’s causing misalignment to begin with.
Contributing factors causing misalignment
Failure to understand the value IT brings to business
When management doesn’t fully comprehend the benefits that technology has on a business’ growth and productivity, you’re guaranteed to face the increased pressures of adapting to a changing and competitive climate, without having the proper supporting tools. In our last article, we talked about the major IT challenges businesses will encounter in 2021, all of which involve knowledge, preparation, and implementation to defeat the obstacles.
Failure to include IT as part of the business planning
There is no denying the fact that technology increases the efficiency of a company, and that’s why it goes hand-in hand with business planning. As an organization’s strategic plan evolves, its technology needs to adapt to meet new expectations. Your IT department must be involved in the discussions about the company’s overall strategic direction. Improvement in communications, protection against security threats, and employee efficiency are all examples where technology performs a crucial role in a business plan.
Failure to incorporate the human factor
In business, the value of IT investments is measured in the way employees are using it. To achieve maximum benefits, it’s important that everyone in the organization uses the available IT tools to their full potential. This may require an alteration in the way work is done, which means education for employees is imperative. Getting staff to fully utilize new technology is sometimes more challenging than simply implementing it.
How to achieve technology alignment
Before exploring the capabilities of aligning your business with technology, it’s key to understand what this essentially means. The alignment of business and IT strategies has been utilized by organizations to create and enhance efficiencies, improve customer and buyer/supplier relationships, and to create new products and business solutions. IT is one of the prime enablers of change that has aided many successful organizations to adapt a new way of working.
But it’s important to note, IT has never been a one size fits all. What works for one organization may not necessarily be the best option for yours; strategic alignment is key, and that’s why expertise is critical. If your company is not equipped with adequate IT experts to scope your business needs, and the proper project management team to see it through, you are more than likely to experience misalignment. The Project Management Institute’s annual report found that 37 % of PMP respondents cited a lack of clearly deﬁned or achievable milestones and objectives to measure progress as the cause of IT project failure. All too often, company leadership and the IT department don’t understand each other’s needs or proposed solutions, resulting in technological misalignment.
Typically, the organizational objectives are expressed in terms of improved performance and sustained market competitiveness. For an organization to claim that its IT and business strategies are aligned, there must be harmony between them and little or no friction between the decision makers in corporate departments and the IT department. Although IT solutions will vary from one business to another, there are distinctive steps required when ensuring technology business alignment: realizing the value of technology, transparent and clear communication within the organization, a defined set of goals and objectives, defining measurable metrics, and proper documentation that enumerates the IT and business strategies, and how they are expected to work together.
Whether you have an internal IT team or not, connecting with the right Managed Services Provider can help by framing IT solutions in terms of how it will solve current issues, prohibit recurrence, and enable company growth. Above all else, the primary goal of a properly equipped MSP should always be to strategically align technology to your business goals.