With the advancement of technology, businesses are finding themselves in an ever-changing world. Not only do their actions have to align with their business goals, but they also need an effective IT strategy to keep up with the competition and protect sensitive data. Additionally, your IT and business strategies must align to work effectively. It can be confusing to know which direction to take your company when they don’t. You may spend more money than necessary on IT advancements or not enough to keep up with a constantly developing tech environment.
Your dedicated IT team at Blue Jean Networks understands how to align your IT strategy with your business objectives. We work closely with our clients to ensure that these two strategies never overstep, helping businesses find success and growth. Use these tips from our experts to better align your business and IT strategies.
Step 1: Identify and Remove Obstacles Preventing Alignment
Every business will have obstacles that separate its business and IT strategies. Identifying and removing or addressing these obstacles will help you reach a more successful business strategy and operation.
What Are The Most Common Obstacles Preventing Alignment?
Several issues that often pop up between a business strategy and an IT strategy include:
- Lack of Communication
Communication is key in any business. When communication is off, chaos ensues, and it takes significantly longer to get anything done.
Most businesses relay their business requirements to their IT department and leave it up to the department to take those requirements and come up with an effective strategy. Doing so can cause a telephone effect, leading to a loss of valuable information about the requirements. This can mean that the strategy the IT department puts together meets only part of the requirements, causing frustration and wasting time and resources.
- Not Properly Valuing Your IT Department
Businesses need to present a unified front when it comes to the value and importance of each of their departments. However, some organizations view IT departments only as the people who fix computers instead of as critical members of the team. Because of this, the department may not get the resources they need to do their jobs properly. You must recognize your IT department as an integral part of your business operation. If you don’t, alignment will be nearly impossible to achieve.
- Lack of Understanding of the Cost or Resources Needed for Long-Term IT Health
While it can be tempting to chase major industry advancements designed to make life easier, it’s much more important to perform regular IT maintenance. This means ensuring your systems get updated, your IT department has the resources they need, your technology is up to date, and you invest in regular training to help them keep up with the latest advancements.
Step 2: Break Down Your Big Goals
It is easy to get carried away looking only at the big picture. But leaving your team to figure out the minute details on their own can lead to confusion and mistakes that, if left unchecked, can cause catastrophic problems.
Prevent this by breaking down big goals into more manageable ones. Set your team up for success by providing precise instructions and guidance on what is being asked of your employees, how they should perform daily duties, and what the expected results should look like.
Step 3: Measure Success with Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators allow you to measure the success of your team and their processes. Knowing how well your team is performing can help you identify and fix problem areas sooner. Key performance indicators for IT include:
- Percentage of projects completed on time, on budget, and on spec
- Average issue handle time
- IT ROI
- IT spend vs. plan
- IT support employees per end users
- Mean time between failures
- Mean time to repair/recovery
- Recovery point objective
- Recovery time objective
- Server downtime and uptime
Step 4: Don’t Overlap Strategies
While it is important for your IT and business strategies to align, they should not overlap. Overlapping creates confusion and redundancy as individuals will perform the same processes, wasting resources. Ensure each employee understands their specific role and seeks to reduce wasted efforts. For example, if you had to cancel a project part of the way through, see if the information or resources created for that project can go towards something else.
Step 5: Keep Open Channels of Communication
Effective communication is key to ensuring your strategies align. One easy way to do this is to provide access and visibility for management staff into all projects across departments to aid the coordination of resources and efforts.
It is also important to understand that business and IT data are important. Both sets should be used in the decision-making process of your business. Additionally, employees should be able to access all the information they need to do their job at one central location. This will help them complete projects involving multiple departments and stay connected to the work your company is doing as a whole.
Step 6: Make Business Alignment an Ongoing Process
Your IT department will be a major player in any big business goals, such as growing quickly or pivoting from one market to another. Work with them to provide ample knowledge and resources so they can stay on top of any vital developments. Regular check-ins keep everyone in the loop and lessen downtime during major changes.
Need Help Coming Up With an Effective Alignment Strategy?
Blue Jean Networks provides businesses in the DFW metroplex with IT support, resources, and even a pre-established department. We’ll work with your team—or become them—to help protect your business’s sensitive data and keep your systems moving. We use top-of-the-line strategies, such as 24/7 monitoring to ensure that your system never misses a beat. With a proactive plan, we stop potential disasters at the first sign of trouble and use every experience as a learning opportunity to improve our services.