Moving beyond alignment


I just ran across this article, “Beyond Alignment“, from ComputerWorld. I love the topic – it is one I’ve been ranting on lately and a core premise of the book we are writing. The article highlights five companies (Southwest Airlines, Progressive Insurance, P&G, Zappos and Vanguard) who have embraced “IT-business convergence”, a fancy way of saying that in some companies, the gap between business and IT is closing. The article also talks about how rare it is to have tightly coupled IT-business strategies (a McKinsey study referenced within says less than 16% of companies say they do). And I’d back that up from what we’ve seen out there in the wild.

The article highlights some of the best practices of “converged” companies, including establishing a common vision, converging IT and business strategic planning, rotating leaders in and out of IT, increasing transparency and more. But there’s one I’d disagree with, and that is the continual focus on internal customers. This focus just widens the split, separates the business into groups. Until IT organizations drop the idea of internal customers, moving beyond alignment will be difficult or impossible…