As I talk with CIO’s I regularly get questions or comments about IT and Business Alignment. Since most of my career has been spent on the business side, I have a very definite opinion (what a surprise) about the issue.
Like it or not, it is usually up to IT to bridge the gap. If the IT leader can’t create a bridge between IT function and the rest of the business, it’s unlikely that anyone else can. The business side typically doesn’t have the technical expertise to translate IT initiatives and bridge the gap.
Here are a couple of quick steps you can take that will make a big difference:
- Be purposeful about the relationships you build in the organization. Identify the key stakeholders and leaders. Get on the calendar with them to understand their function, their priorities and their challenges. Build and maintain a personal connection.
- Translate all of your projects, initiatives, and metrics into the business priorities. Don’t talk about it as ‘implementing document management”, it’s about improving communications and customer service. Create metrics that measure the value of the deliverable, not just the cost and time. (See our report on Value Driven Metrics).
- Model the behavior you want by articulating the IT vision in a way that connects it to the strategic business goals. Work with your staff to help them gain a broader understanding of the business.
- Most CIO’s came up the technical ranks. It may be helpful to find an internal mentor, or connect with peers who can help define the language that best resonates with the business.