How to Align Business and IT Strategy

How to align business and IT strategy

Including IT into your business strategy is instrumental in the 21st century. Technology underlies nearly all business operations of the modern workplace, from document storage to meetings and even daily operations. Therefore, you’ll want to align IT with your business objectives to ensure you’re maximizing resources and preparing employees to work toward shared business goals. Read more to learn how your company can benefit from implementing IT with your business strategy. 

Table of Contents

Why Is It Important To Align Your Business and IT Strategies? 

Office managers traditionally see IT as separate from business operations. However, IT is crucial in every aspect of business operations. Technology increases the ease at which you do business. For example, technology enables companies to store documents and conduct business operations via the cloud. Managing business over the cloud allows for more remote workers, takes up less office space, is often less costly and more reliable. 

However, many businesses don’t practice strategic alignment when making an IT plan. Strategic alignment refers to businesses arranging all operations around a central business goal. In other words, a strategic alignment IT business plan would include aligning IT with business objectives and strategy. Strategic alignment ensures that a company’s various departments and functions don’t crumble in a tumultuous business landscape. 

The alignment of information technology with business strategy is vital for ensuring all team members continually work toward the same business objective. Connecting your IT strategies to your business goals can help businesses make more informed decisions based on data and maximize resources. 

How Do You Align Your Business and IT Strategies? 

Aligning IT with business objectives requires changing the traditional mindset that the IT department is separate from business operations. Instead, the alignment of IT with business strategy demands viewing IT as an integral business tool. Remember that all business departments are working toward a shared strategic goal. 

Follow these steps to align your business and IT strategies.

1. Build Trust and Communication 

Creating a positive company culture built on mutual trust, respect and a shared understanding of the same business goals is the first step in aligning IT and business strategy. Encouraging and actively fostering strong interdepartmental and interpersonal relationships will increase mutual understanding and help employees in different departments communicate more easily. 

You should create a culture of constant, open communication, and employees should communicate using plain, easily understood English rather than specialized technical jargon. Your company can also set up mentorship programs where IT professionals and business leaders learn from one another. Employees will learn more about the other department, which will help strategically align both departments with your overarching business goals. 

These mentorship programs can also encourage an inclusive business culture by supporting cross-departmental events like happy hours and lunches. 

2. Identify the Business Needs and Make a Plan

A culture of open communication encourages IT leaders and business management to learn from each other. Open communication allows IT departments to better understand daily business needs and overarching business plans and objectives. First, think about your current alignment of IT with your business strategy. How effectively does your IT department serve your business objectives? Analyzing the current landscape will reveal gaps you need to fill. 

Understanding what business needs exist and how aligning IT with business objectives can help requires conversation and reflection. IT managers should invite business leaders to discuss their daily challenges and how IT can help foster more efficient operations. On the other hand, businesses can learn how IT supports operations to make suggestions and integrate IT into an aligned business plan. 

3. Evaluate and Adapt

Once you implement your plan, evaluate and adapt accordingly. The business and IT landscape constantly change, so an initial IT strategy and business alignment plan will most likely need adjustments. During the planning stage, you should prepare an evaluation for after you implement your alignment strategy. The steps you take to implement an IT strategy and business alignment plan must be measurable to ensure they help achieve business goals. 

After evaluation, adapt your plan to fit your changing business needs. Remember, your IT goals should always serve your business goals. 

The alignment of IT with business's objectives will help ensure all IT operations work toward furthering business goals

What Are the Benefits of Aligning Your Business and IT Strategies? 

Businesses experience many benefits from aligning IT with business strategy. The alignment of IT with your business’s overall objectives will help to ensure that all IT operations work toward furthering your business goals. 

Some of the benefits you can experience from aligning your business and IT strategies include: 

  • Competitive advantages: You’ll maximize resources while cutting costs when your technology aligns with your organizational goals. Understanding how exactly IT operations need to serve your business objectives will make you more competitive by speeding up your time-to-market and ensuring IT operations are necessary. 
  • Higher ROI: A faster time-to-market alongside increased efficiency, collaboration, and productivity increases profit. Aligning IT with business objectives also maximizes resources, as you won’t spend money on unnecessary resources. You’ll notice an increase in ROI when you align your IT and business goals. 
  • Smarter business decisions: Generally, aligning IT with your business strategy will help you make smarter business decisions. Your employees will improve through cross-departmental collaboration and training sessions, and your business will make more informed IT decisions based on data. Plus, aligning your IT with your business objectives will work to further your business goals. 

What Are Potential Problems From Failing To Align Your Business and IT Strategies? 

While IT departments of the past were viewed as separate from business functions, IT today is instrumental to all business operations. Aligning IT with business strategy offers a host of benefits. However, failure to implement IT in your business plan will harm you in the long run.

Some of the potential problems that could arise from failing to have a proper alignment strategy include: 

  • Miscommunications: If IT professionals and business leaders don’t understand each other’s industries and daily operations, they won’t know how to work together toward a common goal. A lack of understanding between departments leads to miscommunications, which hinders business operations. For example, someone on the business side could wrongly assume IT operations are too technical to understand when they just needed the concepts explained to them in plain language. 
  • Reliance on inadequate technology: If business leaders don’t understand how technology helps them with their daily operations, they might keep outdated technology that slows productivity. While people on the business side may believe they shouldn’t fix something if it’s not broken, they might not realize that a lack of up-to-date technology hinders them from achieving business goals. 
  • Purchasing unnecessary new technology: On the other hand, not aligning IT with business objectives could lead to upgrading or purchasing new technology that you don’t need for business functions. For example, a business could offer cryptocurrency payments when its customer base doesn’t use this payment type. A failure to understand how to align IT with business objectives leads to wasting resources and unnecessary expenses. 
Learn about IT strategy consulting

Learn About IT Strategy Consulting With Technology Partners 

If you want to learn more about how to align business and IT strategy, Technology Partners can help. We’ve been helping clients with their IT projects for more than 20 years. We provide both staffing services to help you find the right IT staff to work with you and professional help with IT solutions like cloud productivity, marketing technology and data analytics to help your business flourish. Contact Technology Partners today to learn more about how you can align your IT goals with your business strategy! 

We can help you gain the flexibility you desire in your career. See our current opportunities.

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