There is plenty written about aligning IT and business ““ and for good reason. This is a struggle that many companies face every day, resulting in missed opportunities, miscommunications, and an overall sense that neither side is working together for a successful result. Kathie Topel throws her hat into the ring of key steps required to boost this alignment, and how both sides can contribute to the effort. She indicates that it’s important to provide “tools” for both sides to do well and support each other; the first of these tools being a visionary picture of what will happen when both sides are successful:
The first tool is a visionary picture you develop for the future. Create that vision for different areas, such as return on investment, structure, culture, customer value and employee values, which can be linked for strategic alignment and accountability metrics.
By creating a vision with categories, the executive team can relay its ideas and direction to everyone, and the technology professionals in your organization can see the logic in how the vision was developed. This allows them to internalize it, think about it, and then give complete, structured feedback that is valuable because it is understood.
Note that the above snippet from Topel’s article doesn’t indicate that the visionary picture should be an unrealistic, ambiguous statement. The visionary picture is a clear vision of how to align different areas based on structure, culture, and customer value. Providing a goal to aim at helps both sides make sizable and real steps towards it ““ and question certain elements intelligently.