Development within industries is ever happening, especially in technology, strategic alliances, mergers, and even the development of new products, all of which cause a dynamic business environment. In such a dynamic environment, one of the critical determinants of success is the information technology sector. How well are the IT departments aligned with the other business sectors? While organizations acknowledge that IT is an important sector within the business, they fail to align it with the rest of the business strategy. It is necessary to ensure that the IT department is well-aligned with the rest of the business. Learning the different ways to do it helps the company make progressive steps.
How To Align IT With Business Strategy
There are various ways in which organizations can align their IT with business strategies and enhance the company’s growth. Above all, they have to learn the benefits of aligning IT with business. With this, they are in a better position to push for it. The very first step, therefore, is communicating this. It will involve understanding the actual value that the process brings to the business. Accordingly, when making the business strategies, align them with the IT strategies to help achieve the business set goals, that is, let the goals set by the driver for these plans. Aligning the two bits of help in eradicating outdated technologies in line with this, they are in a position to upgrade their systems to ensure that the technology they are using is in sync with the business agendas and strategies (Silvius, 2007). Acknowledging that the IT department is as important as every other sector and not just a support department. Today, businesses are running due to the different innovations within technology that fall under IT. Therefore, it is paramount that companies incorporate employee training to enhance their understanding of the IT department. Frequent cross-training helps increase the effectiveness of the IT department and overall employee group as they are aware of what technologies to rely on and how to incorporate them with the current business strategies. With this, they all learn to appreciate the impact of IT on business running and success.
Benefits Of Aligning IT With Business Strategies
One issue that businesses struggle with is competition from other entities. With technology use within an organization, they are better positioned to achieve a competitive advantage. Today, every business element requires alignment with IT, finance, marketing, design, or customer service. Each aspect requires IT on a different level, depending on the goals set. Therefore, the critical element here is to ensure that the definition of how IT is used and utilized is different in every aspect. The above will help in increasing efficiency and competitive edge within the market. Another benefit is that it helps ensure that the business goals are well set and being worked towards (Reynolds & Yetton, 2015). When coming up with the business strategies, they are driven by the set business goals and aligning them with IT facilitates their achievement.
In some cases, like small businesses, resources can be limited, which requires the maximization of the value of every strategy. Therefore, aligning it with the rest of the business strategies helps increase the maximization of the value of the business and the resources available. It offers maximization of value for long term success. Defining key roles and KPIs is workable with aligning IT and other business strategies. In every organization having an evaluation for the employee helps in learning progress’ made and areas that need improvement, among others. Generally, the information technology department is necessary for every business, and it is about time they started making it a priority when dealing with and coming up with business strategies.
It is important to note that such changes come with costs. For instance, if the company decides to incorporate frequent IT and business strategies training, it will require more resources. It may need a nudge in the company’s budget, which is not always in shape. There is also the issue of gaps within organizations. For some organizations, their technologies are yet to be up to date, impacting their effectiveness by aligning IT strategies with business ones. Therefore, costs have to be well calculated to avoid negatively affecting other sectors while streamlining IT and business strategies. The whole process of alleviating the IT department and training as assets for the company needs proper planning to help accommodate the financial necessity. Every planning requires bearing costs, and it is not always that a business can afford that. The purchases of new technologies, constant requirements for updates, and risk analysis all come with extra costs to alleviate the IT department. Therefore, the executives have to come together and plan for that and its sustainability before aligning strategies in IT and business (Reynolds & Yetton, 2015). Then there is the issue of the unknown. That is the influence of the external changes, which may not be as predictable. In terms of technology, rules and regulations are constantly changing, new technologies are dropping, and this is beyond the control of a business entity. Therefore, having a plan for such cases is necessary. It may require proper financial planning to help them accommodate the change when it does come, especially if it is beneficial for the entity. The risk of the unknown remains open and unpredictable, and for a small business, it may seem like a risk not worth taking, impacting IT and business strategies alignment.
There is no doubt that technology continues to increase, which leaves an essential aspect of observing future technological trends. We have marketing automation within technologies and different online platforms. Online platforms continue expanding to greater heights, and with their importance to businesses, it is paramount their trends are well followed and watched. Artificial intelligence is on the rise and may well infiltrate the market in the next ten years or less. Therefore, any business looking to maintain a competitive edge has to keep its eyes on this. When the technology is made available, they can plan on how to incorporate it best for their business growth.
Intercontinental Hotel Group
Intercontinental Hotel Group is among the largest companies in Saudi Arabia. They can serve a large part of the country and receive quiet reviews with their coverage. The company has survived for several years, and one of the reasons is its alignment of IT strategies with its business strategies. Asa hotel industry relies on its customers and the products and service they have to offer. With technological advancement, they incorporated online marketing to connect with their customers. Other than their services, they understood the importance of IT strategies alignment with business strategies (Dr Waleed Afandi, 2017). With every emerging technology, especially on the online marketing front, they work on ensuring they do their research and decide if they will incorporate the technology. In Saudi Arabia, culture is essential, and so is their religion. Therefore every step taken has to be in line with what is acceptable in society. Being an international company, they utilize this assessment to plan on management in the different countries they have a presence in. Some of the technologies they use in western countries may not be similar to those in KSA due to cultural differences. Therefore their alignment of IT and business strategies have helped propel their growth and sustainability around the globe.
Dr. Waleed Afandi. (2017). The Impact of Strategic IT-Business Alignment: Evidence from Saudi Private
Reynolds, P., & Yetton, P. (2015). Aligning business and IT strategies in multi-business organizations. Journal of information technology, 30(2), 101-118.
Silvius, A. J. (2007). Aligning IT Strategy to Business Strategy in a Multi-Business Company. AMCIS 2007 Proceedings, 17.