it alignment for business innovation

How Aligned is IT for Business Innovation?

Have you ever wondered why – no matter what you do – it seems that each step forward still leaves you miles behind, while the rest of the world is charging ahead?

You’re not alone; especially if you’re in IT. As discussed in my last blog article, technology is changing at a faster rate than our human ability to adapt, yet IT is expected to adapt to new technologies that drive business innovation faster than ever.

What will it take to keep up? CIOs everywhere are being forced to take a hard look at their organizations and ask themselves, what do we need to do differently in order to deliver more business value, faster?

Being Strategic vs. Just Keeping the Lights On

There are three foundational pillars that will determine the ability of IT to move from just “keeping the lights on” to being a truly strategic, innovative partner for the business:

  • Top-performing IT talent
  • IT alignment with the business
  • A structure that can deliver on today’s demands and adapt to tomorrow’s

If even one of these foundational pillars is weak, it can significantly impact IT’s ability to deliver business value.

Talent

The current “war for talent” is a harsh reality for many IT departments, and goes far beyond a simple scarcity of suitable candidates. Understaffing leads to an overworked IT organization that simply does not have the time and energy to focus on strategic initiatives. When that happens, the IT organization begins to stagnate – and likely experience higher turnover – and that affects overall business performance.

In addition to fine-tuning efforts to attract and retain relevant IT resources, IT needs to create a culture of continuous improvement and professional development for existing staff. Research has shown the following:

  • Growth and development is the second strongest engagement driver after belief in senior leadership.
  • Employees who use their strengths every day are more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to leave the organization.

IT Alignment

If you want to drive business innovation, you must have alignment between IT and the business. The speed of change in today’s digital economy forces businesses to move faster and adjust on the fly — and that cannot happen without IT as a core part of the operating infrastructure.

What does it look like when IT is aligned with the business? IT is:

  • Closely aligned with the strategic goals of the business
  • Able to adapt to meet future needs and emerging challenges
  • Proactively collaborating with business leaders on a regular basis
  • Driving continuous improvement and speed to market

The key to aligning IT with the business is communication. When decision-makers make it a point to talk with each other and collaborate on direction and business goals, they can determine how technology – and IT – can help the business achieve its goals better, faster and more cost effectively.

Structure and Process Maturity

CIOs must be willing to take a clear-eyed, honest look at their IT organization and thoroughly assess its structure and process maturity, starting with benchmarking IT against high performers in their industries:

  • How do current support costs compare to others?
  • Are current “run” costs in line with industry peers and budget?
  • Is the IT team able to contribute to value-add activities?
  • Does IT’s value-add significantly outstrip the budget?
  • Can IT keep pace with the rate of change in the industry?

The simple truth is that the complexity and speed of change in today’s business environment makes it virtually impossible for an IT organization to “do it all on their own” using internal resources. That’s why top-performing IT organizations are partnering with strategic AMS partners to design, build and optimize a complex hybrid IT infrastructure that frees up the internal team to focus on strategic activities that drive business innovation.

The Cost of Misalignment

The impact of complacency will be costly. It will go far beyond the IT department, to the very heart of the health and legacy of the business.

CIOs that recognize and adapt to evolving business challenges will accelerate business agility, performance and innovation. Those that don’t adapt will see their companies’ competitive advantage begin to erode.

Is your IT organization positioned to drive business performance and innovation? Use our benchmark guide to assess where your organization currently stands, and contact NTT DATA Business Solutions if you’d like to explore how we can help.

Learn how to align IT for business transformation and innovation

Bill Strasser
Bill Strasser
Senior Vice President, Managed Services, NTT DATA Business Solutions North America

Bill Strasser is Senior Vice President of Managed Services for NTT DATA Business Solutions. He has more than 20 years in a variety of industries, including Automotive, Manufacturing and Medical Devices, with a focus on building IT organizations that partner with the business to gain significant value from the SAP platform. His specialized focus is on SAP Application Management Services and SAP HANA Transformation. During his time with NTT DATA Business Solutions, he previously served in roles that include Application Management Operations, Managed Services Solutions and Innovations, Managed Services Pre-Sales, and Managed Services Customer Engagement. Bill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Information Services from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Xavier University.

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