IT Value Is Dead. Long Live Business Value.

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Business outcomes from technology investments are all that really matter. The CIO’s challenge is finding new ways to prove IT’s worth.

The end of IT-business alignment is nigh. And no one is happier about it than the business-focused CIO.

“If you stand in front of an audience of CIOs and start talking about IT-business alignment, at best you get eye rolls, and at worst you get people walking out of the room,” says Shawn Banerji, a New York-based CIO recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates. “Alignment has been a big trend for quite some time and—as with most trends—it has gotten a lot of lip service. But the ability to move beyond that into the practical manifestation of IT and the business being one is a progressive reality for a lot of organizations today.”

The strategies IT leaders have employed to more closely connect the technology organization to the larger enterprise—embedding IT staff within business units, understanding business processes, communicating with end users—have been all well and good. But alignment, it turns out, is not the ultimate end for corporate IT. In fact, says Dave Aron, vice president and fellow in Gartner’s CIO Research group, the language of IT-business alignment—encouraged and endorsed for more than a decade by industry analysts, consultants and, for a time, this magazine—is now dangerously counterproductive, setting IT apart from the enterprise even as technology itself becomes more inextricably entrenched in it.

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