Mitchell Morris
July 16, 2023

Business Technology Alignment

It is a bit daunting that even today, with CIOs, CSOs, and millions in technology-based budgets, many firms still speak of a potential idea that the “business” and the “technology” will someday experience a convergence to become the business. A consistent inability to have a meaningful dialogue regarding developing new business solutions and how the business, including the technology components, operates holistically moves technology adoption and business strategy in misaligned directions. One serves a directly identified pain point and the other aims at fulfilling a vision-based objective.

Whether discussing a new product or service offering to bring to market in an optimal business operation, it is fully understood today that technology will play a significant role in its ideation, creation, and delivery. However, even though we know the role technology plays, it is still evident that many organizations continue to have significant operational issues due to the continued misalignment of their operations strategy and technology. The convergence of the two, business strategy and technology, is only an option when business and technology alignment has become ingrained as part of the business culture, which means that decision-makers understand that the business doesn’t run without technology and that it is the technology (hardware and software) that creates the capabilities and efficiencies in today’s business operations.

When technology support departments are overrun with solution development requirements, process creation, or improvements that are not directly tied to an organization’s mission, vision, or strategic objectives, it is misaligned, potentially unnecessary, and a technical debt creation machine. It is also usually underfunded due to not being perceived as enabling, strategic, and investment but rather as a necessary expense to fill a need.

The degree of this misalignment is only later revealed by the amount of technical debt created. The cost of misaligned technology is never fully understood until forklift upgrade, total replacement, or financial drag is revealed through poor operational performance. A precursor to business and technology misalignment is evident in how over-committed a technology support department is and how dissatisfied end users are with the systems they must use.

With the idea of convergence and the perpetual need for business and technology alignment, I developed an alternate approach with our advisory clients. With a plan to move the misaligned discussion from business and technology to an intrapreneurial integrated culture focused on desired outcomes, we focus on two holistic approaches.

“How well do our investments enable us to maintain, take advantage of, and deliver on desired outcomes.”

Or an even better approach.

“What investments do we need to make and maintain to obtain our desired outcomes.”

Through reshaping the conversation, we will also reshape how technology is managed. This rescoping of the business-IT alignment concept creates the ability for measurement, proactive dialog, technology-aligned culture, and preferred outcomes.​