The strategic alignment between the different areas is a challenge for most companies. The goals of the business area, which is the main focus of the companies, are not always rooted as a guiding factor in the goals of other areas, such as IT, for instance.
The main difficulty is that there is not a correct understanding of the role of the technology area in modern organizations. Even large companies still believe that IT’s role is to solve problems when they occur, and to give support to the enterprise systems. This definition, besides being incomplete, is incorrect, because the role of problem-solver is no longer an option for companies which struggle in competitive markets.
As is shown in this post, the reactive IT, which only solves the problems when they happen, no longer has its place and, although this is the most common scenario, it needs to reinvent itself to remain competitive. In addition to anticipate problems and solve them before they happen, the technology industry must engage with the business area. Troubleshooting, or even its prevention, can not be the ultimate goal. It is necessary that IT join the business area, delivering innovations and improvements by means of technology.
The role of innovation within companies ends up being performed by employees with an entrepreneurial mind and generally having a vision more focused on business. The IT department, because of the large amount of demands of day-to-day, ends up not committing with innovation. Although this may seem a contradiction, the truth is that most organizations have IT sectors which only provide support to existing processes. Most CIOs do not encourage the question: “What will IT do this year to generate more business for the organization?”.
This problem has always been detected in our experience with IT Management projects. Many decision makers of large and medium sized companies can not even do simple calculations of the return on investment (ROI). Although this calculation is often not as easy or this number has a large margin of error, it is important to do this exercise mainly to spend energy on the really important metrics.
One cause of this problem has always been that the decisions makers of technology would come from the technical area. The companies were not seeking professionals with profiles aligning business and technology. This has changed and among the trends for the coming years is the recasting of the role of the CIO (Chief Executive Information). One of the solutions designed is to bring professionals from other fields to lead the sector of technology in the companies, thereby causing the culture to be spread throughout the industry.
The conclusion reached is that the convergence of the IT area strategy with the business area is a huge challenge. The importance of technology for business is a recent phenomenon, because even though it has always been relevant, businesses today just do not work without an Internet connection. There is no business without technology in the 21st century and this will become increasingly evident. Each company must find the best way to resolve this issue, but the right thing to do is for it to always come first in the organization’s strategic planning.