IT-powered Value Chain:


IT/Business Alignment

Facilitating Your Business Processes


Vadim Kotelnikov personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!

 Author of ICT for SMEs


"E-business is not an IT challenge." ~ T.Kyle Quinn


e-Business Enterprise-wide Business Porcess Management Leadership IT/Business Alignment Case Studies Benefits of e-Business


IT/Business Alignment

Major Barriers to E-Business Adoption

  • business culture, a people barrier getting not only the board to agree, but getting the whole company to agree

  • skills rather business skills, including imagination and creativity, than IT skills

  • threat to valued existing partnerships

  • security, privacy, and complexity

IT/Business Alignment

4 Key Areas of Improvement

  1. functionality and quality of IT

  2. customer satisfaction

  3. corporate culture

  4. planning and interaction between IT and business


IT/Business Alignment

Top 10 Tips

  • Clearly define and articulate the benefits you expect from your system... More

Bridging the IT/Business Divide: Aligning Goals to Achieve Performance

Ensuring IT alignment with the business has traditionally been viewed as the CIO's job.

However, successful IT/business alignment entails more than executive level communication and strategy translation. CIOs who achieve alignment typically do so by establishing a set of well-planned process improvement programs that systematically address obstacles and go beyond executive level conversation to permeate the entire IT organization and its culture.1

One commonly used methodology is the "IT/Business Alignment Cycle", which introduces a simple framework that the IT organization can adopt to manage a broad range of activities. The four phases of the cycle are: plan, model, manage, and measure.

Following this cycle fosters organization-wide shared expectations between business and IT managers, and defines a common framework for a broad range of activities that together serve to align IT and business objectives. The cycle also identifies best practices and common processes within and between IT functional groups to make IT/business alignment sustainable and scalable. This framework functions best when integrated and automated with software applications and monitoring tools.

By committing to the cycle and integrating and automating activities using software solutions, CIOs can align their whole organization to make systematic improvements that overcome obstacles.

The Four Phases of IT/Business Alignment and Integration

The main purpose of IT / business alignment and integration is to build a stronger, more innovative and competitive enterprise. This is a two-way street. The business side must define business goals and priorities to help IT make alignment happen.

1. Plan. Translate business objectives into measurable IT services. The plan phase helps clarify business needs and close the gap between what business architects and managers need and expect and what IT delivers. It also helps allocate IT resources effectively to maximize business value.

2. Design. Design IT infrastructure to optimize business value. This phase identifies resources needed to deliver IT services at committed levels. Map IT assets, processes, and resources back to IT services, then prioritize and plan resources that support those critical services. Design an adaptive IT structure. When business needs change, IT services and resources should be modified and adapted appropriately.

3. Implement. The implementation phase enables the IT staff to deliver promised levels of service. The IT leader must establish a method for effective management of the IT infrastructure and all changes. In addition, a method for prioritizing service requests based on business impact, a disciplined change management process to minimize the risk of negatively affecting service level commitments, and an IT event management system to monitor and manage components that support business critical services are to be established. Finally, operational metrics that enable service delivery at promised levels, as well as the means for measuring and tracking the progress of service level commitments using these metrics must be in place.

4. Fine-tune. This phase improves cross-organization visibility into operations and service level commitments. Verify commitments, collect user feedback, and improve operations The bottom line in measuring the success of alignment is the degree to which IT is working on the things about which business managers care. >>>





  1. "The Four Phases of IT/Business Alignment," Mary Nugent, BMC Software