Aligning IT with Business

Importance of Aligning IT Strategies with Business Objectives

Apparently, IT is an essential and indispensable element that helps in mitigating various operational complexities that permeate almost every level of an organization department. It is key to supporting the procedures and efficiency of processes along the cross-functional departments within an organization. In that fact, aligning IT with business objectives is a critical success and survival strategy for most of the modern business today. It involves optimizing communication between the top level management who make business decisions and IT officials who supervise the technical operations at the lower level. Among the critical components of aligning IT strategies with business objectives are flexible business plans, effective cost allocation and a sustainable IT infrastructure (Elmorshidy, 2013). These elements are highly attributed to successful alignment of IT technologies with business objectives. Aligning IT to a company’s objectives is not only a survival factor that enables an organization to thrive but also a component that has a great value to all the stakeholders in an entity. Therefore, the essay is focused on discussing how IT is aligned with the objectives, importance, and demerits within an operating entity.

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How to align IT strategies with business objectives

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Aligning IT strategies with organization objectives involves appropriate use of technology to support needs, strategies and business goals (Turban, Pollard & Wood, 2018). IT strategies can be aligned with the business objectives through the following steps to deliver business value. First, a company should identify the business imperatives and the need to align IT with the objectives. This process is essential to determine the gap and specifically think about the need to integrate technology into the company’s objectives. Second, the management should plan and design the operation and technology architecture to optimize processes and increase business value. Rather than coming up with the IT features in demand, the managers need to formulate sustainable policies that are meant to guide and direct how IT architecture is formed. Third, align the business priorities with the IT strategies considering the model that improve operation for competitive advantage. Subsequently, the company needs to manage the prioritized areas and ensure all the services are delivered according to the companies and expectations. Finally, the management needs to measure whether the business need was met and whether there was service level commitment as well as an improvement of cross-organization visibility (Elmorshidy, 2013).  

Benefits of aligning IT strategies with business objectives

Undeniably, aligning IT strategies with business objectives has several benefits with company processes. Aligning IT strategies with business objectives will lead to increased profitability due to improved business performance. Through implementing this process, it means objectives will be met faster and increase agility to reach new markets (Turban, Pollard & Wood, 2018). Also, an organization will acquire the benefit of reduced cost and efficiency of processes. Aligning objectives to technology would mean economizing on the use of scarce resources and application of lean management. Besides, a company will enjoy better customer experience due to improved, streamlined processes in service delivery. Finally, a company that has aligned its objectives with IT enjoys the benefit of competitive advantage because the management can leverage core competencies through building a superior brand to compete in the market. As such, the company acquires a significant advantage in positive public image. 

Challenges of aligning IT strategies with business objectives

Despite the benefits attributed to aligning IT strategies with business objectives, some difficulties may appear in this process. First, implementing this initiative is not a one-off process. It is a compressive exercise that needs regular reviews, re-assessment, and adjustments. This call for a high level of expertise outsourced outside the organization when the company fails to provide the capacity. Second, a company may experience disconnection of the process when priorities and needs change over time. Every department has its strategies which may change over time (Elmorshidy, 2013). As such, some anomalies may occur when implementing the entire process of alignment.

The most important argument in IT-Business objective alignment

Aligning IT strategy with business objectives helps in leveraging competencies in knowledge sharing along the cross-functional business units. Synchronizing information technology in business objectives would also mean linking other firms that can help a company to build a market and distribute a brand to the customers (Elmorshidy, 2013). However, IT-Business objective alignment would mean high cost in planning and implementing the process to achieve an optimized operation level. I think this argument is important because the primary objective of the process is to achieve its objectives faster and secure a competitive advantage among competitors. Therefore, company management need to procure an expert in planning and budgeting to ensure the scarce resources are economically utilized. 

How could you quantify this alignment to gain support from senior management? IT?

In this exercise, I would launch a regular assessing unit that will evaluate the performance of the alignment and present an interim and final report on the performance to the management (Elmorshidy, 2013). The measurement of the results would send a strong message of the potential outcome attributed to the process. As such, the exercise will gain support from senior management when it turns positive. Alternatively, I will avail information regarding the success of a certain innovative program to acquire support from the IT department.

Summary of the most important thing learned from a real-world case (Amazon Inc.)

This consistent strategic loop means a company will function better, increase its proceeds and realize goals easier. This can be reflected in the case of Amazon Inc. which has integrated and aligned technology with production objectives. Through this exercise, Amazon Inc. has been able to reach its production target in time and avail their products to their customers over the world (Crotts et al., 2015). According to the Amazon case, it can be learned that aligning IT with business strategy result in agility and responsive effort that meet customer demand in real-time. Moreover, rolling out the process would mean savvy models aimed to achieve operational efficiency and increased turnover.

Conclusion

IT is an essential and indispensable element that helps in mitigating various operational complexities that permeate almost every level of the organization department. The IT- business alignment involves appropriate use of technology to support needs, strategies and business goals. It can be aligned through identifying the gap, planning and designing the technology architecture, implementation, management and regular assessment of performance. The benefits of the process include increased profitability, reduced operational cost, better customer experience, and competitive advantage. However, the challenges of aligning objectives to technology include the complexity of the process and regular changing of business needs. It can be significantly being learned that a company enjoys long term benefits despite the cost used in aligning the entire structure.

References

Crotts J.C, Duncan R. Dickson, & Robert C. Ford. (2015). Aligning Amazon Objectives with Innovation: The Case of Service Excellence. The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 19(3), 54-68. 

Elmorshidy A. (2013). Aligning IT With Business Objectives: A Critical Survival and Success Factor in Today’s Business. The Journal of Applied Business Research. Volume 29, Number 3.

Turban, Pollard & Wood. (2018). IT for Management: On-Demand Strategies for Performance, Growth, and Sustainability. IT strategy, sourcing, and strategic technology trends.

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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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