What IT Business Alignment means…
There are some meetings in which you are confronted with requests and ideas which seem as though Christmas, Easter and your birthday have all come at the same time. How you can reasonably achieve all these things is an entirely different matter. But how can IT Business Alignment help here?
Happy now? Hardly!
There is something which many children and also some adults like doing and also sometimes gets their undivided attention – preparing a wish list. The basic idea is to ask yourself what you want, and then to list all your wishes. In many children (and grown-ups) this morphs into a sort of order, irrespective of real-life restrictions and any practical benefit. And which parents understand the real needs of their children, not to mention the latest trends in the school yard? Just try to imagine the pained smile of a twelve year-old boy bravely trying to keep his composure when faced with a pink smartphone.
How IT Business Alignment can make wishes come true
Classic IT Business Alignment takes a very similar situation as its starting point. Let’s start by interpreting the technical support provided by the IT Department to the other departments as the fulfillment of the latter’s technical wishes. Almost like a wish list for the systems administration. The initial situation is shaped by the different environment and the accompanying communication method. It is certainly no secret that IT areas are very technology-focused in their understanding of things and therefore also in the way they communicate. This can be incomprehensible, like a “book with seven seals” for the representatives of the business departments whose world is dominated by a methodological approach and business-management needs. This is quite evident, for example, in the definition of individual interfaces and add-ons to standard software. It often happens that expectations can only be met after a long and expensive process as the IT Department does not understand what is required and the business department cannot see the limitations. The solution for this situation is IT Business Alignment – the synchronization of the diverging strategies of the IT Department and the business units.
The following factors should be kept in mind when thinking about IT Business Alignment.
- IT projects should be jointly planned and implemented – and firmly based on a shared bedrock of facts. In particular, cost efficiency is only achieved if the goals of both sides can be clearly defined and reconciled.
- The thinking in business processes must have clear interfaces with the programs which will execute the tasks in question. As part of this, coherent process flow charts which refer to the systems and programs which are to be executed must be defined for test and change management
- An excessive focus on technology is clearly a frequent phenomenon for the IT Department. Systems and programs and all their details must of course be kept firmly in mind. But without a precise description of the scenarios and instances of their usage there will inevitably be discrepancies between the planned and actual use.
- Constructive communication instead of playing the “blame game” is a vital component, particularly in the area of interpersonal relationships. Finally, we should remember that apart from any shortage of resources there is a shared corporate goal with which all departments should identify.
- Understanding and documenting technical requirements. The central point for this is a reliable bedrock of facts which every stakeholder can understand irrespective of whether he or she now has a technical or a specialist background.
The successful reconciliation of these factors with each other and with the involvement of the various groups involved creates the basis for efficient IT Business Alignment which links the strategic orientation of application processes with technical feasibility.
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