As companies accelerate their digital transformation, technology innovations are now a critical component of any business strategy. Industry leaders are spending more money on technology than their counterparts, prioritizing growth and customers. CEOs now see CIOs and tech leaders as their primary partners in driving business innovation. CIOs and IT executives must prove business value through their technical investments and are expected to play a critical role in driving the future of the business.
Does Your IT Strategy Align With Your Business Goals?
With agile software development practices becoming widely adopted, release cycles happen more often and organizations expect more change in a shorter period of time. The distance between IT and customers is now short. Customer-facing applications and services are what the company now prioritizes and IT must ensure end-user experience is upheld with the right technology and processes in place.
Get on the right track by focusing on more integrated processes, breaking down team silos and aligning your team objectives to business goals. From there, make technology decisions and create an IT strategy that supports these initiatives.
The following are some practical steps to consider, to maximize value for your organization and customers.
Share Objectives Across Multiple Teams to Encourage Collaboration
Ownership of products, systems and services now lives across multiple departments. With constant, iterative product cycles, these teams must maintain constant communication with each other to effectively deliver an end product to the customer or user. Insular strategies and initiatives limited to one team or department are no longer suitable to meet company objectives. IT strategy development must extend beyond the boundaries of the IT organization.
Partner with service stakeholders and developer teams to establish shared objectives and goals. Identify business teams that can present priorities from a revenue and customer perspective. Signing up for shared objectives will encourage collaboration and ensure teams understand what they are working towards and how it connects with other groups.
- Expand IT strategy beyond the IT organization
- Partner with business service stakeholders and development teams to establish shared objectives and goals
Establish Shared KPIs and Metrics That Align With Business Outcomes
Set shared goals that align to business objectives and metrics. Value should be outcome based for the consumer (outcome/product), not the producer (parts/process). Establish metrics and KPIs that measure the outcomes based on what the CIO and line-of-business (LOB) executives will care about. Prioritize projects using stakeholder estimates of business value, like ROI or price for performance. This ensures teams at every level are hyper-focused on results that align to your org’s overall strategy and goals.
- Measure value, not performance or activity
- Define products and projects based on business objectives, not existing capabilities
- Establish a technology and process strategy that supports shared KPIs
Establish a Technology and Process Strategy That Supports Shared KPIs
Bringing together teams to share common business objectives sets the tone for a supporting technology strategy. A holistic strategy that spans the organization ensures IT minimizes unnecessary investments and frees up budget for future-forward initiatives.
Once a shared set of KPIs has been determined, IT can gather the proper metrics across departments to support those KPIs. A unified data repository across all systems is extremely beneficial to collect and share these metrics. This will not happen overnight, but leveraging platforms that ensure maximum flexibility and inclusion of your data will set your organization up for success no matter how the business changes in the future.
With a unified data strategy, develop dashboards that display business KPIs and the components that impact these KPIs end to end. When developing these views, be sure to keep the end user in mind: could this be shared with the CIO or a business executive? Does it encourage actions towards improving business outcomes?
- Consider a unified data repository to share across the organization
- Create dashboards that capture business KPIs and the services, apps and systems that impact these KPIs
- Create views that business stakeholders will be able to understand easily
- Ensure your dashboards support and answer questions that executives will ask
For more tips on aligning IT strategy to the business, read IDC’s "CIO Guide to Aligning IT Strategy to the Business" and "Modern IT Service Delivery for KPI-Driven Outcomes."