Creating business values in IT efforts and teams

Our IT teams are not aligned with business needs“  OR “Business teams do not understand IT needs and processes

Sounds familiar…

It is not uncommon to find IT teams and initiatives not aligned with business. In some cases, even if they are aligned there is major disconnect in perceived values and goals or just bad communication. Nearly 80% (As per Forrester’s Q3 survey) of 600 business executives considered IT important or critically important to their business. But less than 50% of those businesses considered IT as doing “well” to “excellent”  job.

IT teams need business value based alignment in their thought process and drive IT initiatives based on business-value. Many IT managers may start conversations with business execs, but those discussions delve quickly into IT issues.

Based on Forrester Research, Following (in order of importance) are some key changes that contribute towards more positive view of IT by the business:

1. Improved reliability of systems and network

2. Improved consistency and quality of IT processes

3. Improved execution of major enterprise projects

4. Improved project management

5. Better communicated IT’s value and success

6. Introduction of relationship managers

7. Improved the ability to measure and monitor IT spending

8. Instituted or re-formed business-IT steering committee.

At the end of the day business teams shall be able to calculate ROI on IT investments else they will consider IT investments as sunk costs. IT performance metrics shall not only measure IT specific parameters but also the parameters which business cares about.

IT leaders should focus on measuring, communicating and driving IT efforts based on the business value the IT contributes to the company. Onus to break this IT-Business alignment malaise lies with IT leaders and they have to reach beyond doing a good job of technology management and change how their teams interacts across the enterprise and the external partners.