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Information Technology (IT) is important for achieving your company’s goals. It is highly recommended that IT is not looked at as an expense for your company or something that you upgrade only when you have no other choice.
Technology alignment — also called “business alignment” or “convergence” — ensures IT is actively reaching your company’s goals, like improving finances or competitiveness in the market.
The opposite of technology alignment is when a company has expensive IT solutions that not only don’t move the company forward but hinder it from reaching its goals. In its simplest form, this could be computers that constantly freeze up or a network that’s down too often. But it can also include an organization buying a solution that’s too complicated and time-consuming for its needs.
There are a variety of internal and external factors. Here are some of the most common:
Decisions are often made with little understanding of how the technology works. It can almost be impossible to come away with the best solution in that situation — you risk buying a solution that is too complex for your needs or one you’ll quickly outgrow.
Sometimes, companies fail to invest in superior technology, because they either can’t afford it or don’t recognize its value. Other times, leadership feels that the company has invested so much in an old system that they’re reluctant to abandon it for something new.
As an organization’s strategic plan evolves, its technology needs to change too. If those responsible for technology, such as IT, aren’t included in discussions about the company’s overall strategic direction, they will be unable to plan and adapt accordingly.It’s not fair to expect your IT department to have the right solution if they don’t fully understand where the company is going.
Technology changes fast, and it can be challenging for organizations to keep up — especially for smaller businesses that don’t have a dedicated IT department. Relatedly, some businesses can be reluctant to invest in new technology, and it could be because they’re worried that it will quickly become outdated, won’t work, or will be incompatible with current systems.
Value comes from the way businesses use IT. It’s vital that employees use available IT tools to their full advantage, which means they might have to change processes in how work gets done. Businesses may have to overcome pushback from employees, and getting them to utilize new technology is more challenging than simply implementing it.
Again, your company’s overall strategy should drive the IT plans, and here are some actions you can take toward aligning business and IT.
Suppose your company has a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or IT department. In that case, they should be involved in strategic planning to provide input relating to IT trends and future needs and to oversee the plans as the company’s IT strategy changes.
There are times when company leadership and the IT department don’t understand each others’ needs and/or proposed solutions. The CIO can help by framing technology in terms of how it will help the organization meet its goals.
Technology alignment — including problem areas — should regularly be assessed so that the company strategy can include a path to improvement.
If an organizational change is required to realize the maximum benefit from new technology, you will have to get buy-in and cooperation from your employees. It helps if you anticipate and think through this challenge, then create a formal training plan to help your employees as you implement the new technology.
If your business isn’t large enough to have a CIO or dedicated IT department, it might be in your best interest to get a second opinion. This will give you expert guidance in the IT area and help with any questions you may have regarding technology alignment.
DQE Communications partners with businesses of all industries and sizes to help ensure the best possible IT-business alignment that suits your organization’s needs and can grow with you in the future.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help your IT align with your business!Tags: leverage, planning, strategic alignment, strategic planning, technology alignment