The problems of not aligning IT with business goals


Due in part to the rise of solutions such as the cloud and unified communications, technology is now far more central to continued business success than ever before. As a result, enterprise businesses can no longer afford to let their IT investments merely provide the background layer necessary to power daily tasks. Instead, a company has to better align its IT strategies with business goals to ensure that the organization is best primed for growth in an increasingly connected and wired world.


“How technology will support growth and results is a fundamental question. It is no longer sufficient to tend the IT ‘garden’ and declare success,” wrote Gartner analysts Mark McDonald and Dave Aron. “Digital technologies provide a platform to achieve results, but only if CIOs adopt new roles and behaviors to hunt for digital value. CIOs require a new agenda for digital business and beyond – an agenda that secures IT’s future strategic role, funding and skills.”


However, the research firm’s 2013 CIO Agenda, which spoke with more than 2,000 IT decision-makers from some of the world’s top enterprises, found that most companies are neglecting this new paradigm. Gartner found that although the survey participants are responsible for an estimated $230 billion in combined IT spending, only 43 percent indicated that the technology in place is being used to its full potential.


How to address the business-IT disconnect

The survey found that one of the major reasons for this disconnect is a lack of communication and direction between business decision-makers and tech support staff members. On average, organizations thought that executives need to more accurately dictate market and customer needs to IT staff, and IT does not have enough support from other business units. However, most of the IT professionals polled thought that they could provide significant business value to their company.


“IT, after all, exists to support the business,” Nimsoft CEO Chris O’Malley wrote in a Computerworld guest blog post. “So it’s important that IT investments and efforts align closely with the key objectives of the business. And IT can, of course, do a better job of aligning itself with the business than it already does.” He added, “It does, however, take two to tango. So while IT continues to try to better align itself with the business, it might also make sense for the business to participate more aggressively in achieving that alignment.”


In order to overcome these obstacles and achieve the highest return on investment from IT procurements, enterprise firms may want to consider leveraging a managed services provider. With expertise and guidance on their side, companies can feel more confident using the new technology and know that the solutions in place are best suited for furthering total business growth.