In September, CIO Insight cosponsored a conference on IT-business alignment with the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative Inc., the strategy alignment consultancy. Technology and business leaders at a variety of companiesfrom paper producer Boise Cascade Corp. and healthcare provider Cardinal Health Inc. to Walt Disney World and Canada Post Corp.discussed their efforts to create strategic partnerships with business leaders in hopes of using technology more profitably. In their presentations and conference interviews with CIO Insight editors, the executives shared lessons from the front lines on how best to create and manage these difficult relationshipsand keep them healthy.
The key lesson: Technology is the easy part. Willingness to take on the challenge of managing cultural change is much harder. But without it, strategic alignment will always remain a pipe dream.
Within that context of management, CIO Insight Executive Editor Marcia Stepanek heard four critical elements of alignment success emerge during the conference: agreement on strategy from every level of the corporation, the need for IT credibility, the value of financial incentives to spur alignment, and the danger of falling off the alignment bandwagon when times are tough. What follows is her report.