Aligning an IT strategy and long-term business goals is a stumbling block for nearly all organizations. To a certain degree, it includes making serious sacrifices along the way for the greater good of the organization. The problem is deciding how and where to compromise.
To explore the idea that balancing priorities for better alignment starts with evaluating individual risks based on where the business is heading, I caught up with Dataprise’s Director of Infrastructure Management Ryan Miller. Here are some four takeaways from our conversation:
1.Understanding the Impact of Misalignment
Every IT department has some experience with cutting corners due to a lack of resources. A program might be good enough for the business today, but entirely unsuitable if there are new demands tomorrow. A CIO might reasonably delay updating equipment to stretch the life of an asset, creating infrastructure or security gaps that will eventually come back to haunt them.
So because there is no question of whether a business will feel the effects of poor misalignment, the real question becomes how will end-users consume the technology and what will happen if it breaks down in a day (a month, a year)? If a company doesn't have the bandwidth to fix the problem, the consequences can be staggering for the business.
2.Bleeding Edge Vs. Leading Edge
Alignment can’t be achieved without first having a fundamental strategy for upgrading. It can be tempting to select the latest technology available, but there is a cost to this. While the newest generation might be better than the previous iteration, it’s also untested. There is no shame in being one generation behind when the trade-off is knowing that it’s had time to prove itself on the market.
3.Standardization in the Face of IT-Business Alignment
Standardization can help a company by bringing everyone on the same page, but it’s important to both define what this means and understand that it’s just one element of proper alignment.
Standardization does not mean picking one brand and sticking with it. Instead, IT staff need to focus on setting the right standards for functionality and building an architecture that can support each component — regardless of the manufacturer or vendor.
4.Setting the Right Timeline
The deadlines for IT must align with what other departments will need, while considering future business goals. For instance, a company that is growing may need to keep its IT standards ahead of the curve, effectively building out capabilities that they will not technically need for a while. Decision-makers also must look at how outside factors will interfere with their plans during this critical period. For instance, an unexpected chip shortage can delay a project for weeks, which could ultimately throw the whole business out of sync.
Aligning a business with IT can only work if everyone is working from the same premise. A business that is consolidating is going to have different technology needs than one that’s doubling in size. To limit the number of snags in the process, IT cannot discount how their decisions impact the larger organization’s plans.
Read our latest whitepaper, 14 Top Priorities for Today’s IT Leaders, for more actionable insights.