6 practical tips to align IT with the business

IT & Business alignment essentially refers to internal organizational coordination in which IT objectives are aligned with the organization’s business objectives. In practice, this means that each department works actively to achieve the company’s objectives while establishing a relationship of cooperation, work, and effective focus. According to a recent HDI/ICMI report, highly aligned companies (IT and business) have seen 56% faster revenue growth and are 69% more profitable than their misaligned competitors.


While it’s almost a cliché to say that any organization’s IT should ideally be geared toward achieving its business goals, the degree of business growth that’s gained from this is certainly staggering. Clearly, more and more organizations are waking up to the magic of internal IT-business alignment. A recent Gartner study predicts that nearly 50% of global organizations will achieve meaningful collaboration between IT and business by 2022, that is, move from speech to actual practice.


What are business and IT alignment?

IT -business alignment essentially refers to internal organizational coordination in which IT objectives are aligned with the organization’s business objectives. This results in an IT strategy that is not only efficient in meeting the needs of internal and external customers but actively works to achieve business objectives by providing greater business agility and greater innovation.

Here are the six effective tactics I suggest for IT-business alignment in your organization:



Organizations need to break down silos for good and foster close dialogues across teams, functions, and employees to shape close relationships. It is important for IT leaders to be aware of and discuss current imperatives with business leaders across the organization. Commitment to a culture of serious and insightful discussions can help develop an understanding of the different roles among employees and value their shared challenges and innovation.

A business leader may be excited about the potential of a new technology, but it’s up to the IT leader to reveal the mechanics of its implementation, potential pitfalls, challenges, and limitations in easy-to-understand terms. Business leaders, on the other hand, need to transparently establish business needs and plans so that IT has a clear direction. In this way, IT leaders can always remain aware of the context of business imperatives and modulate IT initiatives accordingly.




While it’s easy to say, it’s really hard to establish trust between people, and the cost of not establishing trust can be very high. Misaligned business and IT interests can be a death blow to confidence in technology strategies, reduced patience, and entering unproductive levels in planning. Quick decision-making, including potentially high-risk ventures in successful organizations, comes from a place of trust and confidence in your IT resources.



Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) do more than provide an evaluation. They can provide insight into business outcomes and mission-critical processes. They can also serve as tools to measure the effectiveness of aligning IT operations with business needs. IT efficiency metrics and business metrics must be available for both roles with equal transparency to measure alignment.




While filling the existing gap in alignment might seem like a daunting task, a simple internal mentoring program for IT and business employees can go a long way toward solving it. The agenda is to promote intercultural learning across departmental silos through different strategies and innovative initiatives to promote understanding. You can get creative and assign a member of the marketing team to attend developer meetings, or ask a member of the technical team to accompany a field sales agent for a few days. There are literally a million ways to bridge the divide and foster interdisciplinary relationships.



Encouraging IT business alignment is a slow process, similar to any business optimization efforts you may have encountered. Ideally, they should be approached as an open project. Encouraging cross-departmental conversations is a great start, but to measure real progress, you must conduct ongoing assessments.

A simple measure can be to check the approach of IT teams. If alignment is going well, there should be some clear indications of moving from reactive to proactive processes. They will move from adverse break/fix mode to taking control of processes and trying to manage or resolve issues before they have a chance to actually become a problem.



Surveys can be a critical tool for assessing employees’ perception and understanding of the overall business view, current strategies, key priorities and challenges. IT surveys are famous for being standardized and only assessing the quality of technology or technical service within various departments, in a poor emulation of customer-service provider relationships. Ideally, surveys should be designed to be more open, with a broad scope of individualized information about how IT can help advance the organization’s business acumen. Regardless of today’s key imperatives, this should provide clear indications as to the IT outputs needed to achieve this goal. Qualitative feedback can be just as or even more useful than percentages in this regard.

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