Successful IT requires true business alignment

Being a technology leader has never been easy but the pace of innovation in the digital age means the job has got much tougher recently

Being a technology leader has never been easy but the pace of innovation in the digital age means the job has got much tougher recently. The confluence of cloud-based technologies and consumer devices is creating the potential for more flexibility around the traditional provision of IT resources. Where CIOs once spent months scoping and purchasing technology equipment, other c-suite leaders now expect the CIO to innovate quickly while continuing to deliver value from IT.


End-users, meanwhile, are bringing their own demands for IT to the workplace – and they expect to be able to use their own devices to hook into the enterprise network. If organisations are to take full advantage of innovative digital technology, CIOs must clearly define the opportunities for the wider business and not just the IT department.


Recent research by IDC revealed 67% ofCIOs believe their job is evolving to that of a “Chief Innovation Officer” and they expect to have more money to spend on innovation. IDC says CIOs expect the innovation budget to grow between 23% and 28% during the next three years.


We believe 2012 will be a turning point, as the impact of the cloud and consumerisation on the business reaches a critical point. With this in mind, the alignment of IT resources and business objectives has never been so important.


Alignment has dominated the CIO agenda for the best part of a decade, and technology experts regularly assert business objectives and IT resources are now closely intertwined. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.


Just 3% of CIOs believe their IT systems are fully aligned to their organisation’s business objectives, according to research recently produced by independent agency Vanson Bourne on behalf of BT Engage IT.


Alignment might have been the talk of the technology town for the past decade but progress has actually been limited. To achieve true success, CIOs must understand the nature of innovative IT and its relation to set business demands. This issue of Technology Leaders highlights how real configuration will only come through a dialogue that CIOs initiate and maintain.


Steve Fraser, Relationship Partner at chartered accountants Monahans, who says executive support is essential to successful digital innovation. Or Dave Humby, Director of Global Customer Innovation at BT, who says IT innovation must create something real and tangible that helps the rest of the business.


The CIO needs to be a technology advocate, monitoring trends and identifying opportunities for where innovative IT can help the business, both now and as the economy recovers. Actions must speak louder than words and IT alignment has to be business priority for the modern CIO.