IT and Business Alignment - Survey Results

Diamond Consultants released the results of their Digital IQ Survey recently (download the full survey here) that provides some very interesting (and surprising?) insights into Business and IT Alignment.

Before we dive into the results, let’s set the stage with some basic info about the survey:

  • 456 executives surveyed with about half the respondents being CIO, CTO or other senior IT executives.
  • 90% of companies surveyed had annual revenues over $1billion.
  • Broad range of industries – finance, manufacturing, health care, insurance, high tech, government, etc.

Interesting tidbits from the survey:

  • 82% of respondents believe that IT is a strategic part of their business
  • More than 80% of respondents believe that IT is creating significant competitive pressure in the services industry
  • less than 10% of respondents say IT projects meet user expectations

Surprising tidbits from the survey:

  • 33% of the respondents said that the CIO was significantly involved in strategic planning
  • 19% “totally agree” that their strategic planning process is effective while 46% “somewhat agree”

Let’s look at one particular topic: IT’s role in creating strategic advantage.

More than 80% of survey respondents believe that IT is a strategic asset for their business and can create competitive advantage….but only 33% of the respondents said that the CIO and/or other senior IT executives were significantly involved.

Does that make any sense? Why would you believe that your information technology can create an advantage but not ask for the involvement of the the CIO and/or other senior IT execs’ involvement?

I think the reasoning is probably pretty simple…there’s been a lot of talk about IT & Business Alignment and many senior execs understand the importance of this alignment but don’t know understand how to execute to truly align business and IT.

The only way to truly align IT and Business is to do the following:

  • Involve IT leadership and organization in the business planning process.
  • Rethink IT projects. There really isn’t “IT projects” any longer….there are only business projects that have a strategic affect on the organization.
  • Empower the IT organization. Stop holding the reigns tightly and let your technology people innovate.
  • Engage the IT organization. Want to know a secret? Salary isn’t the only thing people want…they want to feel needed, they want to learn, they want to be engaged. Find ways to keep your IT human capital engaged.
  • Reward the IT organization. Are you rewarding your IT personnel for the work that they do? In addition to salary, bonus and other rewards, are you giving your IT organization the credit it deserves?
  • Grow the IT organization. You can’t create a strategic advantage with a skeleton IT crew augmented by contractors. You have to grow your IT organization so that you have full access to the entire library of knowledge needed to compete….I don’t think you can do that with more contractors than full-time staff.

These are just a few of my thoughts…I’d love to hear some feedback and/or your thoughts.

[tags] Strategy, Information Technology, IT, technology, alignment [/tags]