Over the past few decades we have seen IT organisations create very complex portfolios of systems, applications and data bases to satisfy business needs. These portfolios are often very slow to adapt to change and do not map directly onto business processes but simply automate steps in the business process. In the last decade we have seen some business models that are solely built around IT (ebay, Dell, Amazon).

This evolution over the last few decades is seeing Business and IT attempting to align where IT needs to adapt to the Business and likewise the Business needs to adapt to IT. Work has been done to try and achieve this Business and IT alignment but typically the Business and IT strategies have been seen as separate entities.

ProSolveIT sees IT aligned to the Business. IT and Business alignment enables business processes and is critical to the enterprise and innovation. The IT strategy is linked to the Business strategy enabling the enterprise to step back from short term ROI and look at long term ROI and TCO with respect to real business value and not just short term cost.

Moving towards an aligned IT and Business is an incremental transformation process that must deliver real benefit at each step. The first question to ask is what level of alignment currently exists;

21st Century IT quadrant (click for larger diagram).

The figure above shows 4 states and enterprises typically fall into one of these states with the aim to move towards the top right corner (click on figure to see larger image).

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These four states can be summarised as follows:

  • “Lights-on” driven IT. In any enterprise a large part of any IT budget goes on maintenance or keeping the “lights-on”. An organisation solely driven in this way is taking a tactical approach rather than a strategic approach.
  • Technology driven IT. The enterprise has a strong IT strategy being implemented but this is based around technology with no quantifiable link to the business strategy. In this model IT is seen as a cost to the business rather than an enabler.
  • Business driven IT. The business strategy is in place and steps in this strategy generate short term IT requirements but these are completed in isolation to any long term IT strategy and creates silos of technology.
  • 21st century IT. IT and Business are aligned with IT seen as a critical component of the Business and clear visibility of business processes within IT.

Whilst the potential for benefit is great it cannot be realized without a co-ordinated approach where an IT Strategy is created that enables the Business Strategy. But many IT executives have trouble identifying the practical steps needed and at ProSolveIT, we see a number of Themes that must be addressed in this approach – Click here for more information!