Aligning IT to Business Objectives
By David Mustin, Vice President, Strategic IT Consulting, Marcum Technology
As businesses strive to stay competitive and meet rapidly evolving economic demands, customer demands, mergers and acquisitions, along with competitors entering the marketplace with new products and services, aligning IT strategies with overall business goals has become paramount. This ensures that IT initiatives are not conducted in isolation but are instead aligned with broader business strategies.
In addition, newer technologies are changing business models by delivering new ways of engaging customers (portals and smarter products), creating connected and more visibility into supply chains (vendor portals), changing buying patterns (ecommerce) and fundamentally transforming business models. Therefore, business strategy should include technology, but that technology has to be a critical component of the strategy itself.
To guide organizations through the process, many companies turn to consultants with expertise in IT-business alignment. These consultants, like ours at Marcum, help businesses incorporate technology into the business strategy and identify ways for technology to drive growth, support new markets and new products and services. Beyond identification of the goals technology is needed to support, technology can actually help organizations realize their goals more clearly to increase customer engagement, strengthen competitive position, and bring new products and services to markets faster.
By collaborating with experienced technology and industry advisors, organizations can ensure that their IT is effectively aligned with their business objectives, leading to a competitive advantage, enhanced performance, and sustainable growth.
HOW TO DEFINE BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
Defining business objectives with IT in mind is a crucial step in creating a business plan for success. By integrating IT into the planning and decision-making process, organizations can leverage technology to achieve their desired outcomes.
Marcum recognizes that aligning IT with business objectives begins with understanding the organization’s goals. By focusing on the businesses’ strengths and opportunities (ex. SWOT analysis) Marcum helps clients identify ways to use technology to improve their positioning in the market.
STRATEGIC QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
When creating an IT strategy that aligns with business objectives, businesses should ask themselves the following questions:
- How can we grow revenue? Businesses should consider how technology can support revenue growth initiatives. This may involve leveraging data analytics to identify new market opportunities, implementing e-commerce platforms to expand sales channels, or using customer relationship management (CRM) systems to improve customer acquisition and retention.
- How can we become more efficient? Technology can drive operational efficiency by modernizing systems, automating tasks, improving integration and collaboration. Businesses should consider how technology can streamline and adopt best practices, reduce redundant data entry, improve decision making, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve productivity. This may involve implementing project management tools, communication platforms, or workflow automation systems.
- What differentiates our organization from competitors? Businesses should identify their unique value proposition and consider how technology can enhance it. This may involve leveraging technology to deliver personalized customer experiences, developing innovative or customized products and services, or implementing customer loyalty programs. Understanding what sets the business apart and using technology to amplify those differentiators is vital.
- How can we use technology to help meet, exceed, measure and track our goals? Businesses should assess gaps and opportunities, implementing data analytics and decision support platforms to speed decision making, and KPI / OKR platforms to track realization of goals. This may involve conducting a technology audit to identify gaps and opportunities, exploring emerging technologies that align with their industry, or partnering with IT consultants to develop a technology roadmap.
By asking these questions, businesses gain clarity on how technology can align with their overall mission and values and drive success. To make this process easier, Marcum Technology can assist companies in answering these questions and developing an IT strategy that effectively supports their goals.
HOW DOES MARCUM TECHNOLOGY HELP COMPANIES ALIGN IT TO BUSINESS OBJECTIVES?
UNDERSTANDING BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
At Marcum Technology, we start by helping clients define business opportunities. When pinpointing a company’s main objectives, it’s critical to ask the right questions. By understanding where value is created regarding revenue, profitability, growth, customer engagement, efficiency, Marcum Technology can determine how technology can help track and achieve these goals.
STRATEGIC IT PLANNING
Marcum Technology assists companies in developing a strategic IT plan. This involves assessing the current IT operations;, which includes organization, infrastructure, applications, cybersecurity, spend, and projects. Assessment also includes identifying gaps in needs, and creating a roadmap for implementing technology solutions that support business goals.
We bring industry-specific expertise to help companies align IT to the precise needs of their industry and business objectives. Our knowledge of the processes and workings of so many industries allows us to tailor technology to the unique challenges and opportunities within different industries.
The hardest part of any initiative is engaging the team and building commitment to outcomes. Marcum Technology provides guidance and support in managing the organizational change of implementing new technology solutions. This includes addressing employee concerns, providing training and education, and ensuring a smooth transition.
We understand that technology is not just about the tools but also about building commitment to the results, education, and training employees to understand its value. We help organizations address the “what’s in it for me” perspective when implementing new systems or processes, ensuring that employees see the benefits and can effectively leverage the new technology.
CREATING A TECHNOLOGY FORWARD ORGANIZATION
Business demands evolve and dialing in IT operations provides access to accurate and timely data, enabling better decision-making. With the right IT systems and analytics tools, businesses can gain insights into market trends, customer behavior, and operational performance–allowing for informed strategic decision-making.
Companies can also adapt more quickly to changing market conditions and customer demands. Flexible IT systems and infrastructure enable businesses to scale operations, launch new products or services, and respond to emerging opportunities as fast or faster than competitors.
Additionally, an IT roadmap helps companies gain a competitive edge. By leveraging technology effectively, businesses can differentiate themselves in the market, offer innovative products or services, and deliver superior customer experiences.
Marcum Technology offers a comprehensive approach to aligning IT with business objectives. By understanding each organization’s specific challenges and goals, leveraging industry expertise, and providing tailored technology solutions, Marcum Technology helps companies optimize their IT strategies and drive success in today’s technology-driven business landscape.