Aligning IT and Business Dynamics
Many best practices in the exploitation of the information technologies in business and Government have been well understood for many years by some CIOs.
However in spite of such long established wisdom, this best practice is often undermined by IT-naive board members under pressure to bring about rapid business change. The consequent costly failures are then put down to poor development practice rather than inadequate IT governance.
The future is now
There is a serious mismatch between traditional management structures and practices, and today’s instantaneous decision making in our digital world. This widening of the gap between what was OK in our old world, and what is needed in the new, can only produce poor alignment between the challenge that we face and our means to deal with it.
Moving forward from here
This alignment mismatch calls for a radical departure from the comfort zone of many, particularly at board level. Changes are required in process and procedure, but more importantly in the culture and power structure of the business management environment itself, such that there is constant alignment between the IT and business drivers of change. However, whilst the change being advocated is not insignificant, it is nevertheless achievable in small steps that build confidence. This calls for a new agenda for delivering e-business change, and that is what I discuss here and in my book The Drowning Director.
A proven response
Over many decades I have met almost every conceivable challenge in business IT exploitation within a wide range of business cultures and management styles, in both the Private and the Public Sectors, latterly at board level.
Probably the most important single moment of my career was when it struck me forcibly that the root of many of the major problems being encountered in the introduction of IT into business and government were largely cultural and behavioural, rather than technological.
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to carry through a programme of radical changes that challenged the established culture and way of doing things. This transformed the IT contribution to the business and produced dramatic improvements in business performance as a result.
Following that experience I published a book, The Drowning Director, which promotes a way forward in managing IT exploitation in business and Government that is better fitted for today’s e-business world – a way that ensures that business and IT alignment produces a unity of purpose that is an essential foundation for effective transformational change in this fast changing world.
The alignement of Business and IT is not only about ensuring that IT use reflects current business needs.
True Business and IT alignment is about everyone developing a shared mind-set, such that both business and IT risks and opportunities are fully understood in equal measure by all.
The Alignment Problem
What is the extent of the business IT alignment problem, and what are its principal causes?
A New Agenda
What is the wider agenda needed to align IT and business imperatives in the longer term?
What are the business benefits that inevitably flow from closer business & IT alignment?
“I think that there is a real need for a book with this kind of analysis and these types of messages. It has homed in on the key issues and explained them well”
Sir George Cox
Director General – Institute of Directors (1999-2004)