Alignment of information technology (IT) and business is a challenge that is often discussed and written about in magazine articles and books. I read one article recently stating alignment did not cut it and that what you really need is a melding of technology and business – perhaps this concept was developed in a yoga class somewhere in California. I do not mean to make light of the challenge because it is real! It’s just that I read all these articles and they say very little beyond the theme of communications and connecting the business and technology and how hard that is!
Ok, it’s hard and the CIO or IT Director has to walk that line – now what?
Priorities, I think the challenge is priorities. The business leaders need to make sure the business priorities are aligned with technology priorities. The goals are important also but I think the priorities sometimes get lost trying to accomplish IT goals. It is important to implement technology to make the mobile worker more efficient and effective but today it is more important that the accounting system project is complete or maybe the other way around. This is the breakdown – when there is misalignment of priorities. The key to being more effective with IT is to maintain a list of goals and more importantly priorities. This list of IT project priorities should be five or less and you must be crystal clear on that number one priority. This list of five or less should be reviewed at the weekly executive management meetings. Essentially you will end up with a backlog of IT projects and initiatives and a list of the five priorities. This is very similar to the agile programming project management methodologies that are gaining popularity in the development communities like Scrum and extreme programming.
Carry your list of five information technology priorities to your next executive meeting, review it and let me know how it goes.