What happens when an IT department finds themselves at odds with the rest of their business? Most of the time it results in unsuccessful initiatives and systems that are difficult to support.
Business/IT alignment is critical for market impact and growth. The key to successful IT management is realizing the importance of integrating technology with the strategy, mission and goals of the business.
How did IT become misaligned from the business?
On one end of the spectrum, IT may have stopped business-led technology initiatives from happening in the first place due to:
- Lack of expertise
- Discomfort with a loss of control
- Exaggerating hidden costs that erode the return on investment of the initiative
- IT being perceived as “the place where you go to hear ‘no’”
Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, IT may have identified perfectly valid reasons to steer the business away from an initiative. But due to lack of trust and/or ineffective messaging, it colored the perception of whether IT was acting in the best interest of the business.
On the other far end of the spectrum, IT may have acted as a “rubber stamp” and implemented a solution that was dictated by the business without IT’s input. Without identifying potential problems, the business risks harming the long-term success and supportability of the solution.
Working together toward one shared goal
When IT acts as a true partner of the business, they can:
- Gain the trust of business leaders to ensure that IT’s voice is heard
- Identify and head off many problems before they arise unexpectedly
- Support solutions effectively after they are implemented
- Provide deep understanding of the needs of the business and ensure that these needs are met proactively
Ultimately, both sides should have a sense that they’re working together as an organization towards one shared goal, rather than butt heads or point fingers.
Costs of failing to align IT with the rest of the business
When IT doesn’t partner effectively with the rest of the business, the result is a negative perception of IT – that they’re a roadblock or ineffective at supporting users.
Another big issue is Shadow IT, a term that refers to deploying applications and IT systems without the IT department’s knowledge. When business leaders and end users use shadow IT, they potentially expose the business to security risk and create supportability issues.
Ultimately, without this alignment, the business may have trouble retaining clients and talented staff due to dysfunctional processes and tool-sets.
Partner with IT Consultants to help bridge the gap
The responsibility to maintain a continuous alignment between the business and IT has become a full-time job. Therefore, many businesses are turning to IT consultants with managed services offerings. One of the most valuable assets of a managed services partnership is having someone who can bridge the gap between business and IT and provide strategic alignment for achieving better business outcomes.