Well, all you Ahabs out there, put down your harpoons. A new survey indicates this may not be so.Bain & Company polled tech and business executives at 450 companies, for a yet-to-be released survey and discovered that while IT-business alignment is important, it should not come at the expense of developing an effective IT department.
According to CIO Insight, the survey "found that companies grew faster and lowered costs more dramatically by first focusing on making their IT departments effective. Those that favored alignment before effectiveness, on the other hand, faced tougher growth prospects and higher spending rates."
Why is this so?
Partly, it seems that true IT-business alignment is not being realized, ï¿¼ "Instead of synching up strategies, companies tend to allot IT resources to different business units and call that alignment," writes Brian Watson in CIO Insight, ï¿¼ and partly it seems that alignment is being used as a palliative rather than focusing on making the IT department more effective.
Rudy Puryear, head of Bain's North American IT practice and author of the report, is quoted in the CIO article: "When companies find themselves (to be ineffective), the response is, we need to be more aligned. But if it's over-aligned to the point where you get those unintended consequences, the 'ah-ha' is that alignment isn't always the best thing."
Obviously, you want your IT department to be strategically and operationally aligned with your business organization but don't sacrifice an effective and efficient IT shop to get there.
Otherwise you could find yourself going down with the ship.