Aligning your IT solutions with your overall business goals can keep you awake at night! There’s a lot to juggle. You can end up wondering if your IT people, the software you use, and the technology you have in place are serving you well across your company to move your objectives forward.
At various points, you may also have discovered that the goals of your leadership team and your IT people seriously differ! This causes confusion and perhaps a certain amount of aggravation as they pursue their different aims.
To help you align your IT solutions with your business goals, we’ll take a closer look at
- why you need to align IT and your business goals,
- five ways to do this, and
- the need to reevaluate your IT solutions for future alignment.
But first, let’s quickly mention the role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO).
What Does a CIO Do?
You may have a void in your C-Suite where a CIO would sit – if you had one. So what would a CIO do that helps you sleep soundly at night?
Just as your CFO oversees finance throughout your business, a CIO is responsible for IT solutions and other technical business operations throughout your business.
At the C-level, a good CIO will not only have a wide range of organizational and business knowledge but also want to gain an understanding of how your company runs. That’s because their job is to ensure all your IT solutions
- work for the benefit of the whole company,
- focus on your business goals, and
- improve your business processes.
But why is alignment of IT and business so important?
Reasons You Should Align Your IT Solutions to Your Business Goals
Many of the issues you face can stem from misalignment.
We’ll mention just two as illustration:
1 Finding some of your departments lack the IT they need to function well – e.g., the CRM has not been updated enough for your sales team to track their sales funnel properly.
Problem: You know that sales grow business. But do you understand your technology options around CRMs? Or the dangers of outdated legacy software?
2 Your marketing and sales teams are using different data tracking methods and therefore disagreeing about how to move forward.
Problem: You want a central source of data and analytics based on your business goals to ensure revenue generation. But who can advise on the best software?
So, what we’re saying is this. Your IT strategy and processes must align with – and be based on – your business strategy and goals so that scenarios like these don’t happen.
Let’s move on to five ways you can start aligning your IT solutions and your business goals.
5 Ways to Align IT Solutions to your Business Goals
1 Get Everyone to Understand Your Business Goals
Proper alignment of business goals and IT solutions happens when everyone understands the main objective of your company and focuses on that goal.
This means avoiding situations where your top-level managers and executives work in silos.
Instead, bring them together in regular meetings to talk about and get to grips with your business model and the clear goals you’re aiming for.
Your IT solutions can then play their part in making this happen because IT permeates your business these days.
If you don’t have a full-time CIO in place, this might be one reason to bring in a fractional one – your meetings need an expert with an overall view of how IT plays out for business strategy and success.
2 Have the Correct People Involved in Decision-Making
Your senior leadership and all department heads are affected by IT and will have valuable insight about what’s needed to improve their work.
If you involve them in technology decisions, necessary changes, and onboarding, change management around IT becomes easier!
And if you hire a Fractional CIO, they bring expertise, creative approaches, and access to resources from outside the situation that you might not otherwise have thought about or known of.
3 Have Clear Goals
The trick to aligning goals and IT is to have a clear goal that tech can visualize and implement. A CIO is well placed to help with this throughout your company.
You might, for example, try out an IT idea in one small area of business as an agile test focused on one goal.
Or you might migrate one area of Ops to the cloud before migrating your whole infrastructure. But the key is that the company as a whole should be on board and aware of
- how it helps,
- why it helps, and
- what it helps.
Then when it’s rolled out, everyone understands how this IT solution aligns with your overall company goals – and benefits them.
4 Budget for IT and its Implementation
In today’s difficult business climate, having no IT budget is false economy. No budget for new technology means there’s no moving forward with your current or future goals, and you risk creating technology debt.
Worse, as you need IT solutions in every area of your business, you’re setting things up for inter-departmental competitiveness for limited resources. This prevents you aligning everyone to your top business goals.
A CIO is therefore the person best placed to help with adequate budgeting for the right IT in the right places for your goals.
5 Reevaluate Your Current IT Strategy
Having an IT strategy and aligning it with your business goals is a great step. But it’s not a once-and-done!
It’s equally important to continually reevaluate your IT strategy as your company’s goals and objectives evolve over time.
So – when your objectives shift and strategies have to change, everyone needs to be on board: sales, finance, marketing, tech, and everyone else.
The bonus is that when this happens, there’s a new opportunity to ask your IT leadership which new IT solutions will help drive your business forward.
That might also be a moment when you bring in a Fractional CIO to help in that decision-making process throughout your business.
Alignment is Easy with CIO Suite
One of the benefits of hiring a Fractional CIO as your business partner to help align your IT solutions with your overall business goals is that it’s a “consumption” model of CIO services. You buy the expertise for as long or as little as you need it.
CIO Suite has 40 years of real-world experience helping small to mid-range businesses align their IT solutions with their goals, avoid bad decisions, and achieve greater business success.
Contact us today and schedule a discovery meeting.