The alignment between information systems and organisational strategies is the integration that drives the success of organisations. The present corporate world depends on these domains to get to the peak of success. Business development officers refer to the proper alignment of these domains as the edge an organisation with good understanding of it has over the one that is yet to align these domains properly.
Today, it is true that businesses must flow in the direction of technology, but every organisation must know the present level where they stand and the type of information systems needed at the stage they presently find themselves. So that they don’t overload their organisation and out run presently reality. The essence of alignment between information systems and organisational strategies is to know at every point in time where an organisation stands at present and where they should prepare to move to. For example, if a firm’s strategy is to be a ‘cost leader’ in its industry, then its information system strategies should support and enable ‘cost leadership’ through effective supply chain management.
Strategic alignment model serves as a frame work for aligning information technology with business strategy, conceptualising and directing strategic role with management of information technology and for leveraging information technology on a continuous basis to achieving sustainable competitive advantage.
This model is of two types, they are: ‘internal and external domains’. The external domains is also referred to as ‘strategy domain’ and it is divided into business strategy domain and IT strategy domain. The internal domain also known as ‘infrastructure domains’ is also divided into business infrastructure and IT infrastructure domains.
In strategic alignment model, the four domains of strategic choice need to recognise how a decision in one domain affects the other domain. The external strategy deals with the scope, competencies and governance while the internal strategy deals with the structure, process and skills. Both domains come to a point where they both have a strategic fit into each other; having business and IT as their functional integration.
In the strategy domains, you are expected to know the full scope of your business, your distinctive competencies and the external business relationships you depend on. You are also expected to know the type of information technology that supports or creates strategic business opportunities, the characteristics of information technology that creates business advantage and the type of external relationship that their information technology depend on (outsourcing, vendors, etc.).
While infrastructure domains deal with organisational structure, the key business processes and getting the type of HR needed to achieve specific competencies, it also deals with hardware, software, process development, maintenance and operations. The skill required to maintain the architecture and execute the process is also put into consideration.
A proper understanding of the alignment between information systems and organisational strategies helps you to know the right questions to ask and the right step to take when needed. Today, we need to pay attention to both domains because the growth of businesses is hinged on proper alignment of information systems and organisational strategies.
by: Benneth Njoku