Strategy Alignment and I.T.

Been away from my blog the past few days as I’m heads down packing to leave my corporate apartment for new digs. I had time then to mull over some ideas regarding Business and I.T. strategic alignment. These circled back to ideas I had in the 80s regarding Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) and a quote from a friend “Technology makes a good servant but a poor master”. Most of the strategies, and I’ve seen a lot these days. Everyone has an I.T. strategy and so called architecture –I’ll get on my soapbox about architecture another time—which is positioned as the silver bullet for what ails a corporation. The problem I see with these is there is no linkage between Business and I.T. Strategies and Architectures.

I spent most of yesterday in discussion with one of the people I’m mentoring about such. She’s starting a new position as a Sr. Architect and was trying to figure out her first steps. I suggested getting to know the organization and its business model first. We spent time discussion Michael Porter, Adrian Slywotzky approaches and how to analyze the business. In a short time we had decomposed her new employer’s business model and the competitive threats on the horizon. She was amazed at how easy yet difficult this was to do. The “wow” was in her voice. I replied this was the easy part. The tough part is determining what to do and aligning the critical stakeholders to do it.

I had previously worked an engagement years ago, with IBM, in which we used a business strategic analysis method; Strategic Capabilities Network (SCN). At that time it was just a IBM Research paper. A subordinate and I built a quick tool to support the method out of MS Access for a strategy engagement we were doing. We collected the data, analyzed it which helped us develop and eCommerce strategy for the client. I took a quick mental note that this could be eventually used as the bridge between business and I.T. strategy.

Fast forward to today, I still see gaps between business and I.T. that Evel Knievel would have second thoughts about jumping. However, as I started pondering this issue It came to me the reason why was it still was a translation issue. Business and Technology don’t talk the same language which has brought me back to my SCN application a few other tools and methods I’ve used in the past and how to integrate them into a more cohesive methodology than TOGAF or many of the other technology driven architecture approaches. This is not a slight against TOGAF, etc. but rather a thought how to bridge Business Strategy and I.T. Architecture into a symbiotic relationship.

In the new role I’m looking at fulfilling I can see this greatly helping my peers be more successful; faster and with greater results that delight clients.

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