Aligning IT to Business Objectives

Information technology is a crucial part of most businesses, but the solutions that come out of IT departments don’t always line up with organizational objectives. That’s when IT strategy and governance must come into play, said David Flint, a research director at Gartner.

“All organizations of any size have IT, and some organizations are spending large amounts of money on IT,” he said. “The decisions on what to spend are made by all kinds of people in various capacities. We know, from both our research and our own contacts with organizations, that a significant part of this money is wasted, or sub-optimally applied, as we might say more pretentiously.”

Flint, who has done extensive research on the topic of IT alignment, has honed in on several reasons why this occurs. “One is that there isn’t any effective linkage between the strategic intent at the top and the people who are actually making the decisions—that’s a failure of strategy,” he said. “The second is that the people who are making the decisions are not the right people. The rights to make the decisions have been handed out in an ill-considered way.”

As Flint pointed out, IT projects and initiatives can end up being a convoluted string of pearls because of this disconnect between different parts of an enterprise. This is hardly unique to IT, though: He cited the example of the voluminous Patriot Act, which was passed by Congress shortly after 9/11. The elements of the thousands…



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