Why IT-business alignment still fails

With the push for digital transformation, relations between business and IT seemed to be improving, then they took a left turn. Here’s what’s worth addressing to improve alignment in your organization.

Why IT-business alignment still fails
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Do your company’s IT leaders and top business executives have the same understanding of IT’s role within the organization? Back in 2012, researchers at Capgemini asked this question of more than 1,300 senior executives. Sixty-five percent of them answered yes.

Perhaps a number closer to 100 percent would have been ideal, but the fact that nearly two thirds of companies surveyed believed business and IT were on the same page was very good news. It represented enormous and hard-won progress from the bad old days when business executives saw technology professionals as pointy-headed geeks, and technology professionals saw business executives as soulless and money-obsessed.

In the past six years, though, alignment between business and IT has gotten much, much worse. Asked that same question this year, only 37 percent of executives thought business and IT leaders agreed on IT’s role, according to a newly released study by Capgemini. And that’s not all. Only 35 percent of respondents think IT and business executives agree on how technology can increase productivity, down from 59 percent in 2012. Just 36 percent think IT and business leaders have the same view of IT investment priorities, down from 53 percent six years ago.

This decline in business-IT alignment happened in an era when IT leaders finally started getting the “seat at the table” they’d always wanted. Whether or not business leaders believe that “every company is a software company,” they all recognize the game-changing power of technology across all industries — and they’re expressing that recognition with cash. IDC forecasts that total worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies will exceed $1.3 trillion in 2018.

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