What CIOs Need to Know About Business Alignment

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-11-2014 Email Print this article Print

By now, CIOs are highly aware of the C-suite's growing interest in aligning IT planning, investment and deployment with strategic business goals. Despite the fact that much of this activity is driven by the increasingly unpredictable and rapid pace of market shifts, many organizations are still moving too slowly toward this goal. CIOs and tech departments are hardly the sole parties to blame, findings show. In many cases, their best efforts are undermined by the existing corporate culture. It's difficult, after all, to work with business teams on optimal IT acquisition and usage when those same business teams go out and buy a load of apps without even telling the CIO or his or her tech team. To further illustrate the rising demand for better alignment and the subsequent challenges, we present the following industry research findings. And to help steer CIOs in the right direction to address these challenges, we're also providing five proven best practices. All statistics and best practices were compiled from research and presentations from organizations which included Deloitte, the Society for Information Management, the ROI Institute, Cisco and Serena Software.

  • A Big "To Do"

    Nearly one-half of senior IT executives say better alignment with business needs is a top priority, which is more than double compared to a year ago.
    A Big
  • Ready and Able

    63% of IT pros are confident in their ability to respond to the needs of business.
    Ready and Able
  • Fuzzy Profile

    More than one-quarter of IT pros equate the visibility of their IT department into their organization's business initiatives to "a foggy day in London," despite their confidence in IT's ability to respond to business needs.
    Fuzzy Profile
  • Business Minded

    CIOs spend 37% of their time focused on business matters.
    Business Minded
  • Out of the Loop

    76% of IT leaders say business applications are rolled out without engaging IT, despite the amount of time they spend on business issues.
    Out of the Loop
  • Best Practices: Get With Stakeholders

    Identify all key stakeholders. Interview them to discuss essential business needs and pain points.
    Best Practices: Get With Stakeholders
  • Best Practices: IT Inventory

    Match all discussed business needs and pain points to current IT capabilities that can address both of them.
    Best Practices: IT Inventory
  • Best Practices: Identify Gaps

    Assess which gaps remain in terms of IT addressing business needs and eliminating pain points. Match all subsequent tech investment to directly addressing these gaps in order to justify the strategic and business purpose of the investment.
    Best Practices: Identify Gaps
  • Best Practices: Disclose Your Biases

    Pre-existing biases on both the IT and business side are perfectly understandable. To unite on strategy and vision, it's best to openly share biases to reach a common ground.
    Best Practices: Disclose Your Biases
  • Best Practices: Build the Right Team

    Designate IT members not only for their tech and business knowledge, but their ability to collaborate and improvise.
    Best Practices: Build the Right Team
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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