Mike Vance on 6 Tactics for Achieving Better Business-IT Alignment

Successful organizations know that people are essential to real business-IT alignment. IT has become so important that every business process—even the most basic parts of daily workflow—depend on it. Yet there can still be a cultural tendency to relegate the IT department to the metaphorical basement and inadvertently create a mutual isolation where neither side is aware of what the other is doing.

Business-IT alignment

The truth is that cultural business-IT alignment is better for everyone. When employees understand the work different areas of an organization do, they have a greater perspective on business goals, priorities, and how each department’s contribution to the whole is essential.

CIO.com’s article “6 smart practices for better business-IT alignment” contains insights from five IT thought leaders—including Resultant Executive Vice President of Professional Services Mike Vance—on innovative ways to close the cultural gap between IT and business employees.

Reverse-embedded IT

One of Vance’s tactics is reverse-embedded IT—bringing business employees who aren’t IT specialists into the IT department for liaison purposes. It’s different from a business analyst position, Vance says: “The job is to make sure you fully understand what the business is trying to achieve, and then bring that back and articulate it to IT because that’s the gap that always happens.”

Having a familiar face as the liaison between business and IT helps strengthen that relationship and furthers understanding on both sides. Liaisons tend to build their credibility within the IT department quickly when they show results from being able to translate concerns effectively between sides.

Cross-functional teams

Another tactic Vance advocates is cross-functional teams. When organizations implement cross-functional teams, they can coordinate their activities in such a way that specific people and skills are allocated where and when they’re needed. Additionally, when IT liaisons meet with leadership, they can collaborate on priorities and help hold each other accountable. When Vance was a CIO for Steak n Shake, implementing business advisory boards strengthened accountability and business-IT alignment for both priorities and progress.

Read more at CIO.com



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