Business-IT alignment

Alignment of business and ICT – an expression which entered the business and ICT vocabulary in the 90’s or thereabouts.

  • Has the expression passed its use-by-date?
  • What are the risks in using this expression?
  • What is being aligned to what?
  • Is alignment what we really need?
  • Is alignment what we really mean?

We all know that we shouldn’t align business to ICT, but do we really want to align ICT to business?

The effective use of ICT by different stakeholders in the market / environment in which an enterprise operates means that existing business models are being made irrelevant and redundant, impacting on the viability and sustainability of our enterprises.  In reconsidering the business model(s) upon which our enterprises are based, the incorporation of ICT capabilities offers wider choices.  Market demands may also be such that the only viable models are those incorporating particular ICT capabilities.

In such scenarios, it is no longer a case of “aligning” business and ICT – it is a case of facing no choice but to transition to ICT enabled business models.  This means that the resultant business and change strategies will require particular business and ICT capabilities as critical to realising the intended business model and associated goals, and ensuring the ongoing viability and sustainability of the enterprise.

The identification of critical business and ICT capabilities occurs as an intrinsic element of business strategy development, such that there is no subsequent “alignment” process to pursue.  There is simply the further development and execution of the change strategy to transition to the desired business model and associated operating model.

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