Do you ever feel pulled in too many directions at once? If you do you are not alone. A recent Booz & Company survey of more than 1,800 executives found that almost 2/3s said their biggest frustration is having too many conflicting priorities.
Added to this problem is the existence of incoherent strategies that don't differentiate the organization or don't align with corporate goals. More than half of executives (56%) said that their biggest challenges are ensuring that day-to-day decisions are in line with strategy and allocating resources in a way that supports strategy.
In the close to 10 years that I've been writing about CIO issues the topic of IT and business alignment is one of the most frequently cited issues of concern to CIOs. In fact, if you do a Google search on "IT and Business Alignment" you get 15.3 million results, compared to 11.9 million for "Chief Information Officer."
So what's the latest that one can say about the topic of alignment today? A new article on the subject, from Bain & Company partners Donie Lochan and Sachin Shah, cites a Bain survey of more than 500 senior executives that found fewer than one in five respondents felt their efforts to align IT investments with their most important business needs were successful. That's certainly disappointing. What do the authors say is needed to get better results?
At first glance you might think that golf and IT-Business alignment have nothing in common, but here’s where you are mistaken. Let me first confess that I know a lot more about alignment than I do about golf, but my husband, on the other hand, is quite expert about golf and knows next to nothing about alignment.
For the last few weeks I've been going about the task of researching new cars. The lease on my 2007 Toyota Prius is almost up and I've got to decide whether to lease a new one or switch to a different brand. A few months ago I would have definitely opted to lease another Prius since I've been happy with it, but the recent news about accelerator problems on various models led me to reconsider whether the once vaunted Toyota quality is slipping, and not just its floor mats.
Excerpts from a short article about a report just released by SIMEAWG (http://eawg.simnet.org) member Gene Leganza of Forrester Research:
"Now the trend is it's become necessary to do business planning a lot more collaboratively, which requires a formal look at what's going on in the business," Leganza said. "For IT to fulfill its mission of providing a technology strategy, they really can't do it anymore without knowing about the business ... The business folks can better plan the future by knowing what technology brings to the table."
"Enterprise architecture brings about more consistency and less risk for IT-related projects," Leganza said. "With all that being said, I think the real value is its ability to support transformational change [within] an agency. It brings together at a very intimate level folks on the business side with folks that understand technological capabilities. There can be a variety of aha moments that make processes significantly more efficient."