Alignment Is a Management Issue
"The nub of why alignment is so hard is that fundamentally you're talking about culture change and behavior change in people."
John Scanlon, vice president of line of business technology management, Capital One Financial Corp.
Forging effective IT-business partnerships has never been easy. It's continuous work, and the tough part lies in the detailshow well you communicate with your peers, build teams and push the strategy message to the lower ranks of the organization as well as to the higher-ups.
A July poll of IT and business executives by CIO Insight shows the track record remains dismal on all fronts. According to that survey, 69 percent of IT and business executives say their companies do not measure the degree to which company strategy is understood throughout the company, and only 37 percent of IT executives and 32 percent of business executives say IT is very involved in the development of business strategy. Further, only 14 percent of IT executives and 22 percent of business executives say they have a formal way to track their performance to the company's strategy goals.
Said Capitol One's Scanlon at the conference: "It's like the Dr. Seuss story about two different camps of characters, one that butters its bread on the top and one that butters its bread on the bottom. In all other respects, they're similar, but they both have this seed of difference in how they view the world that triggers difficulties in language and communication, and breeds mistrust. And that's the challenge we have in IT-business relationships as well. We need to find ways to build bridges so we're in alignment in thought and in action and in practice."