Business IT Project Alignment
For the success of any project it is important that the business side of the unit sees it as a useful and viable solution. With IT being a key function irrespective of the industry vertical and size of the company, the expectations from IT investments are forever increasing. Given this scenario it is increasingly important to have a closer alignment between IT and Business. Some of the benefits that can be gained due to this alignment are:
- Substantial reduction in costs
- Process standardization
- Improved productivity
- Better workflow solutions and communications
- Ability to sustain repeatable levels of service
- Higher preparedness and risk control
- Ability to implement new business strategies faster
- Competitive advantage through emerging technologies
Though there is a fairly long list of benefits to be accrued because of this close coupling of IT project and business, until recently IT was not part of business planning. It was mainly considered to be a tool to help in business strategy. This approach is now changing with more and more businesses and marketing channels etc being developed because of the technological advancements. This has led to IT being given a more pro active role in developing the business strategy and thus has become a core element of business planning.
Thus the need of the hour is to have a better alignment between IT project and business which is simpler said than done. The main reason for the difficulty in aligning is that there are very few projects which have been based on business IT strategy. Most projects are entirely technology focused making it highly challenging to align the business and IT strategies. Because of this gap between the IT and business it leads to counterproductive investments and complex IT landscapes which become difficult to maintain in the long run.
To overcome this situation the old fashioned thinking of having business functionality as an add on to IT strategy should be changed. The IT projects should be more business focussed and should be able to answer the questions from the business side. The alignment process essentially involves:
- Understanding of the business
- Accepting the culture
- Understand the IT landscape
- Identify the value chains
- Interpret the internal and external factors
- Identify the change processes
- Map the technology path
- Measure the business benefits
These are but a few of the criteria to pay attention to so as to better align IT project with Business and thus reap higher long term benefits.
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