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Forward-thinking companies are always looking for new beneficial IT solutions to add to their toolkit. However, each new element in the business strategy puzzle calls for revising and synchronizing processes across the whole enterprise. Growing market demands and customers’ expectations […]
Forward-thinking companies are always looking for new beneficial IT
solutions to add to their toolkit. However, each new element in the
business strategy puzzle calls for revising and synchronizing processes
across the whole enterprise.
Growing market demands and customers’ expectations prompt business leaders to build their own IT strategies leveraging the opportunities that software provides. Still, IT is a relatively new phenomenon in the commercial world, and it can be a challenge to synchronize digital solutions with enterprise goals.
Why Your IT Strategy Must Align with your Business Strategy
Until recently, informational technology
has been seen as a secondary role player on the business scene. Today,
IT solutions are more than just supporting tools to automate routine
tasks and collect data – they influence every step of a company’s
activities: optimize workflow and resource management, enable better
integration and collaboration between departments, improve customer
experience and supply chain management.
Reasonable deployment of first-class
solutions in tune with corporate objectives (also known as IT and
business alignment) brings substantial advantages:
New effective approaches to managing risk and compliance issues.
Better products and services delivery.
Improved decision-making based on advanced analytics.
Optimized work of the whole team.
Why IT and Business Strategies become Misaligned
It is surprising to discover that the IT strategy is often taken as a separate element, while it should be integrated with the business strategy. And it’s not the only reason why companies fail to achieve the sufficient level of business and IT alignment.
Lack of technical literacy
Technological novelties often look like universal solutions to painful problems, and some enterprises invest in hype-driven development without a proper understanding of risks and rewards of these cutting-edge technologies. The market inspires business people to be open to new initiatives, but it’s also essential to stay reasonable. When top-managers don’t have clear ideas of what they want from IT, they get nothing but budget blowing.
Blurred business strategy
An ill-defined vision of a business strategy generates serious strategic blunders. Without a firm corporate plan, technologies can support only individual actions, but not the whole strategy, and IT and business strategies fall out of touch.
Lack of strategical agility
As an organization develops, even a successful growth plan runs out of steam. When a company shifts its priorities, its IT strategy also requires immediate revision and updates. However, some executives get into the trap of doing things in a well-known way and leave the IT strategy out of consideration. An outdated IT agenda does a poor job of supporting business. What is more, it may cause a detrimental effect on a company’s operational capacity and lead to significant financial losses.
How Business Leaders can use IT to the Fullest
IT solutions that support business purposes can become guiding lights at the crossings of business directions. The problem is that business leaders mainly focus on business strategies, and they may skip some important benefits provided by IT solutions. So what can be done to use IT potential to the fullest?
Assess your business strategy:
Use the data collected and processed by IT tools for advanced analytics, charts and metrics to estimate the performance of employees, departments and the whole enterprise. A stable growth of key performance indicators is the best sign that you’ve chosen the right direction.
Discover new benefits:
Even if the IT solutions selected by
your IT team work fine, don’t get stuck in the status quo. Take into
account that better technologies can appear, allowing you to achieve a
higher level of customer service, sales and cost optimization.
Gather best ideas:
Joint efforts produce the best results.
Collaborate with your IT team on key strategic issues concerning
technology. Steady exchange of information between the IT department and
top management not only serves as a source of new insights but also
improves the overall corporate climate.
Get an opinion from outside:
It’s a daunting task to work out a
sustainable IT strategy, and even technologically savvy business leaders
resort to external IT consulting services. Third-party experts can give
objective estimates of your current business and IT strategy, advise on
the IT tools to support business, calculate costs and demonstrate how
new solutions can enhance internal operations and increase profit.
What technology leaders can do for business and IT alignment
As technologies have become an essential
component of corporate strategy, the traditional role of technology
leaders is expanding. Now it is not limited to the internal IT processes
management. Following the points below IT leaders can make a tangible
contribution to expanding the business strategy with right digital
Know your business:
Get a better understanding of your
business goals and its driving forces to choose supportive IT tools. The
deeper you see in your business strategy, the better you predict how IT
can influence it. Sort out priorities and focus on the IT projects
based on business impact.
Know IT trends:
Keep a wary eye on relevant changes in
the software industry and systematically inform your business about what
IT can do today. The IT market is developing rapidly, and one gets
easily confused in the variety of available options. Get new knowledge
and experience to conclude which technologies are worth exploring and
discuss new available options with top management.
Educate your IT team:
Be sure that your team gives full play
to the IT element of the corporate strategy. Explain to your people how
new technologies work, set up training sessions and get their feedback.
When employees understand which goal they pursue, they become more
motivated and set the bar higher.
The IT industry is a complex and
ever-changing field, and its twists and turns may confuse. IT leaders
have the power to use technological literacy as a beacon that will lead a
company to ever-growing success.
Pay attention to early signs of misalignment:
Keep a check on IT and business
alignment within your enterprise. A disagreement between your IT and
business strategies is dangerous: if you fail to notice it in time, the
damage will be unpredictable. Early detection of a problem saves time,
money and reputation.
A few last words
IT solutions have a strong potential to
influence business: to increase the speed of business operations, make
them more effective, prompt at new opportunities and more. With
business-IT alignment, you focus on the benefits IT can give to your
current and future business goals, make reasonable investments and
increase the productivity of your business, while randomly implemented
innovations that do not work together for business targets cannot ensure
business-boosting results and the return on investment.
A good strategy backed up with solid technology aid is a great pool over the rivals. With our all-around experience in customized software development and IT consulting services we are always happy to give fresh ideas on how to get the most from your business with IT.