The IT-Business Alignment Breakthrough

By Chris Curran and Caroline Calkins  |  Posted 04-13-2009

By and large, CIOs and their counterparts on the business side are aligned in their objectives, according to the second annual Digital IQ study conducted by Diamond Management & Technology Consultants. But most companies still struggle to use IT to actually improve their financial performance. Improving planning, accountability and tracking of results is necessary to make sure value is delivered at each stage in the process.

In Diamond's survey of 451 business and IT executives, almost seven of 10 the respondents said their companies have effective strategic processes. But a business-IT value gap occurs as companies try to design and execute their strategies. In a constantly changing environment, fully synchronizing the strategy, mobilization and execution phases of a project can be a challenge.

Missed handoffs often occur because changes don't ripple through, and because of incomplete information transfer between the business and IT, the strategic plan and the IT road map, and the road map and development.

Think about it like a football team prepping for a big game. Management is convinced it has a great game plan, and the coordinators appear to be in sync with the head coach. But once the players take the field, the coaches discover (too late) that they're mobilizing the wrong players. Often they favor a few "stars" over players who work better together. And there are too many fumbles during the handoffs that occur during complicated plays. Execution falters, and everyone starts pointing fingers. That's no way to compete on the field--or in the marketplace.

How can you ensure that your team is headed to the Super Bowl instead of slouching toward a last-place finish and a high first-round draft pick (possibly a new CIO)? This year's Diamond Digital IQ study finds six telltale signs that will reveal whether or not IT can add exceptional value to your business.

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