It is crucial that the business side of any project sees it as a viable and useful solution for its success. IT is a vital function, regardless of company size or industry vertical. This means that IT investments are expected to be of increasing importance. This makes it more important to align IT and Business. This alignment can bring about many benefits:
Substantial cost reduction
Process standardization
Productivity improvements
Improved workflow solutions and communications
Reliable service levels
Greater preparedness and risk management
Ability to implement new business strategies quicker
Competitive advantage through emerging technologies
Although there are many benefits to this close coupling between IT project and business, it was not part of business plan until recently. It was primarily used to aid in business strategy. This is changing as technology advances have led to more businesses and marketing channels being created. This has made IT a more active part in the development of business strategies and has thus become a key element of business planning.
It is therefore essential to achieve a better alignment between business and IT projects. This is not an easy task. The reason alignment is so difficult is because very few projects are based on business IT strategy. It is difficult to align business and IT strategies because most projects are technology-focused. This gap between IT and business can lead to counterproductive investments, complex IT landscapes, and ultimately make it difficult to maintain long-term.
This situation can be overcome by changing the way we view business functionality as an added feature to IT strategy. IT projects should be more business-oriented and be able to answer business questions. The alignment process basically involves:
Understanding the business
Acceptance of the culture
Learn the IT landscape
Identify the value chains
Interpret the external and internal factors
Identify the change processes
The technology path
Assess the business benefits
These are just a few of many criteria you should be paying attention to in order to better align your IT project with your business and reap the long-term benefits.
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