Aligning IT with business has been recognized as an ongoing concern within organizations for decades. Aligning business with IT is a process that needs constant effort by organizations to attain business transformation. Today, most CEO’s know that their businesses should be aligned with IT. For the CEO, the transformation of his organization through IT is one of the positive accomplishments in keeping the manufacturing operations from subsiding. And the CIO steps up to the challenges of maintaining a strong relationship with the management. Attempts to bridge the gap in this partnership is essential to increase revenue, reduced costs and innovation of the business.
Aligning business with IT needs effort from IT as well as business enterprise to ensure that IT delivers services that contribute directly to the delivery of business outcome. Many enterprises today require technology to support business process. To deliver services to end customer, organizations depend upon IT resources. Enterprises recognize the value of IT services during the need for business automation like improving financial performance or increasing market share.
How CIO’s can help CEO’s?
In today’s competitive world, organizations face constant pressure from their competitors. To stay successful in the industry, an organization requires willingness to embrace change and innovation. CEO’s need support particularly from CIO’s to deliver innovative technology solutions and make their organization more efficient. CIO’s can help CEO’s by introducing collaborative tools and self-service portals to reduce human capital costs. They can educate the Boards, CEO’s and Senior Executives about the disruptive trends and opportunities. The CIO’s can engage senior managers to co-create innovative solutions in partnership with vendors. They can help the CEO’s in understanding the new technologies and create innovation hubs to benefit the organization.
Mark Ackerman, Sales Director, Middle East, ServiceNow says that a modern CIO should align his business with IT by establishing service portfolio policies that govern the management of the full lifecycle of each service, from inception to retirement; Ensure that the scope of each service is clearly defined and documented in the service catalogue—and, where possible, provide full disclosure by also describing what is ‘out of scope’ for the service; Ensure that each service offering has an associated pricing model, unit price, and cost. He also added that a CIO should establish pre-defined evaluation criteria for assessing all requests and ensure resource planning accounts for all relevant factors affecting resource availability, such as vacations, holidays, shift premiums, maintenance, support, etc.
Business and IT Must Partner
Aligning IT with business supports business goals of the organization. Business IT Alignment improves the organizations overall performance. It can lead to the development of better services, efficient supply of chain management and reduction of costs. The Union Insurance CIO, Anshul Srivastav says “When a CIO decides to adopt technology, and make it a DNA of the system, they have to split out the regular operations and the change management for innovation/ disruption. There must be clear cut demarcation between proposing innovative solutions and supporting existing setup with regular operations. CIO’s should be financially sound to derive the value of the change and build a solid business case. With everything turning into service CIO’s should be cautious on how to play the game of consuming it as service and pay as you use to derive a value of the business case. CIO’s should come out of the shell of supporting business on what business requires, in fact empower business to be differentiators. To lead it, how they innovate is important. So, leading the change should not go with regular operations”
An IT enabled business strategy is required in order to meet the business objectives and goals. An IT enabled business strategy contains the organizations long term IT plans on how IT should be deployed and implemented in the future. It also incorporates the organizations IT strategy that holds information of IT applications. It also describes how IT should be organized within the organization and helps them understand the complexities of data. By aligning their business with IT, organizations can achieve the best return on their IT investment.
In order to progress, it is required that an organization establish an interactive relationship between business and IT processes. Collaborative partnership between business and IT does not have to be initiated only by the CIO. A CEO may also have the right IT leadership. It is not required that the CIO should have access to IT and business strategies; IT managers can also make strategic decisions in delivering the business value of IT usage. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who initiates the effort. If there is alignment between IT and business, the organization will be successful.