“By helping identify how technology can change the business dynamics and move the organization more efficiently toward its objectives, IT becomes a foundation for competitive advantage,”
—Nigel Fenwick, a vice president and principal analyst serving CIOs at Forrester
True strategic alignment goes beyond commanding your staff to "align with the business" every quarter. Instead of repeating the same platitudes, incite a revolution among your IT staff. Turn your people into business thinkers, foster deep communications between IT and the business, and transform IT into a service provider.
"The most precious skill IT can bring to the organization is business knowledge and process understanding coupled with technology know-how," says Nigel Fenwick1, a vice president and principal analyst serving CIOs at Forrester. 'By helping identify how technology can change the business dynamics and move the organization more efficiently toward its objectives, IT becomes a foundation for competitive advantage."
Here are three important ways you can ensure your IT team stays in step with the business, instead of constantly trying to catch up.
If you understand that you’re supplying a service to the internal customer, you change the way you interact with the rest of the company. You create a culture that enables IT to interact with the business side, just as any service provider works with a client.
CIO magazine’s 2013 State of the CIO Survey2 showed that IT, in general, is making headway in its relationship with the business: "Fewer CIOs this year say their company’s business stakeholders perceive their IT organization as a cost center lacking enterprise value (15 percent, versus 21 percent), while a higher percentage are viewed as business peers engaged in developing, not just enabling, business strategy (20 percent, versus 15 percent last year)."
Make sure your team keeps pace with this positive trend. When you’ve mastered these three steps and can more accurately define a project’s success in business terms, you’ll know IT is making significant contributions to the business and driving business value through innovation. Now that’s alignment.
To discover what alignment means for your IT department, watch "CIOs Driving More Business Value Today."
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