IT 'still out of synch with business strategy'

Getting IT strategy in tune with that of the general business has long been a goal of IT directors

Getting IT strategy in tune with that of the general business has long been a goal of IT directors. But despite many discussions and Powerpoint presentations, most organisations have failed to achieve this seemingly modest goal, according to a report by Forrester Research.

It said the alignment of IT and business strategies is a by-product of strong IT governance structures, and this strategy alignment must be monitored and measured, with management held accountable for results.

"The major reasons that companies fail to effectively align their IT and business strategies are that they do not measure their progress and do not hold anyone accountable for it," said Craig Symons, a principal analyst at Forrester. "Measuring strategy alignment is not easy, but there are a number of measures that can be used, including the number of joint IT/business unit planning meetings or the number of IT steering committee meetings."

One way for organisations to assess how well IT and business strategies are aligned is by using the Software Engineering Institute's CMM model, a commonly used method for improving the quality of IT and processes.

"Without a formal improvement approach, companies typically move in a stepwise fashion up the maturity model, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many companies are at Level 2, with few at Level 4," said the Forrester report.

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