The Strive to Achieve Strategic Alignment!

22 Nov

I have previously outlined steps which should be considered by an organisation to instil proper Strategic Alignment, by making sure it is incorporated into the core of the business and employees who work there https://sopinion8ed.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/the-what-and-the-why-of-strategic-alignment/ . In covering a blog on Strategic Alignment and competitive advantage, I highlighted the view by Weiss and Anderson of the Four C’s, four common themes which arose when a business had aligned strategies in place; https://sopinion8ed.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/how-strategic-alignment-can-help-a-business-gain-competitive-advantage/

In this blog I am going to expand on the topic of how a company can achieve strategic alignment by treating it as a process. In a paper by Luftman and Brier (1999) they concentrate on known enablers and inhibitors they have come across in their research of alignment.

The Enablers are as follows:

  • Senior executive support for IT
  • IT involved in strategy development
  • IT understands the business
  • Business/IT partnership
  • Well prioritised IT projects
  • IT demonstrates leadership

The Inhibitors are as follows:

  • IT/Business lack close relationships
  • IT does not prioritize well
  • IT fails to meet its commitments
  • IT does not understand business
  • Senior executives do not support IT
  • IT management lacks leadership

It is interesting to note that the each enabler is actually also classed as an inhibitor. They have formulated a process in order to maximise enablers and to minimise inhibitors therefore helping to achieve strategic alignment. The process they have designed involves six steps:

  1. Set goals and establish a team.
  2. Understand the Business-IT linkage.
  3. Analyse and prioritise gaps.
  4. Specify the actions (project management).
  5. Choose and evaluate and success criteria.
  6. Sustain alignment.

All these steps should help to achieve strategic alignment along with the necessity of good communication as previously stated in the above blog links. Strategic Alignment is an on-going process and not one which can be achieved straight away or once achieved left to its own device. As technology and business climates are constantly reinventing themselves it is important to keep the alignment process up to date with these changes. Luftman and Brier describe Strategic Alignment as “a dynamic, complex process that takes time to develop and even more time sustain”. There is no easy process but by following Luftman and Brier steps it may be a move in the right direction on how to firstly achieve Strategic Alignment and secondly more importantly begin to understand how  to sustain it!

Do you think these steps would be beneficial to a company struggling to align their IT and Business Strategies??

Source: http://dis.eafit.edu.co/pos/espsi/macro/session41.pdf

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One Response to “The Strive to Achieve Strategic Alignment!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Does Maturity bring Alignment? « So Opinionated … - November 28, 2012

    […] illustrate functional integration is what separates business from IT.  Building on the work of ac04 in her work on how enables/inhibitors impact on alignment , I hope to expand on this by describing […]

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