CIOnet Study reveals: Business IT Alignment still top priority for IT leaders in 2012

CIOnet published a research among 375 CIO’s recently with the top 10 trends and concerns regarding business and IT. Number 1 and 2 concerns where shared positions for both Business Agility/Speed to Market and Business-IT Alignment.

Research has proven the correlation between athe ROI on IT and business alignment. One would expect a certain amount of maturity already in place for business – it alignment, but reality shows us a different picture. Being practiced and preached by all big consulting firms for years now, it still is not in a perfect state. Based on both my professional experience and daily observations, it is sometimes obvious that business and it arent already perfectly aligned.

The construction industry paradigm

As with the construction industry and despite all kind of rapid and agile development methods, responding to business requirements takes time. Whenever a major area is being planned, it takes years to be finalized. What we see is that in periods of downturn economic growth, the construction industry is responding with a time effect of months or even years.

The same accounts for enterprise IT projects. No matter how eager and agile CIO’s and CTO’s are, it takes months and mostly years before a major project is going live in production. A perfectly planned business and IT alignment upfront wont guarentee a perfect IT platform when going live. It just took too long and business is already seeking for other opportunities, other markets, other business models.

Business room: “Do not disturb”

The CIO / CTO cant be blamed though, since business is also requesting a perfect – 100 % uptime – running infrastructure and core systems. So whatever major business IT projects are planned, any change to the IT platform must conform to these uptime needs. Hence the ambiguity of IT managers in stepping into the next big project, with new interfaces, new technology etc. Current SLA’s – also within companies – address uptime and response issues very clearly, with penalties. It’s balancing between doing (IT) business as usual and stay on the safe side or taking the risks and creating impact for business but also with impact on business.

Agile becomes fragile

Agile development is perfect for pre production requirements planning, but complexity of both system and processes are too high, that agile development and deployment can be truly put into reality in enterprise environments. You cannot simply cut a current process in several pieces and develop parts of the projected solution and go live with those parts. Business and IT have simply too much complexity to create tiny chunks of usefull subprojects that can be developped and implemented the agile way.

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