The Importance Business-IT Alignment
When most people think of their managed IT service provider (MSP), they think of help desk support. There’s no doubt that friendly, responsive technicians are a big part of an MSPs appeal and a big part of how MSP’s staff spends a good portion of its day.
But high-value technology MSP partnership extends far beyond managing your existing technology.
A worthwhile technology partner will provide you with a virtual chief information officer (vCIO), who will act as your go-to IT expert, helping you manage and plan your technology. In the IT services field, we call this achieving “business IT alignment” and it’s one of the most important but overlooked aspects of technology management.
Let’s explore what makes business-technology alignment so important and the role that a vCIO plays in helping you achieve it.
What is Business Technology Alignment?
Technology no longer plays a supporting role in your business. Just as enterprises have been slowly transforming over the last decade, small businesses are now using the Internet and digital technologies to help them work with greater efficiency and better engage new and existing customers.
Business-technology alignment means making sure that you fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current technology and have a plan for making strategic improvements to your current tools, allowing your team to work with greater speed and impact.
Real-World Examples of Business Technology Alignment
Let’s say that a professional services firm institutes a work from home program to help attract employees who have grown accustomed to this model after the COVID-19 pandemic. But they do so with the same network infrastructure they had when staff was working onsite.
In this situation, the company firewalls, remote desktop protocol settings, and network switches are not up to the rigors of work from home. Without a proactive alignment strategy designed by a vCIO (or CIO), this would lead to overwhelmed network infrastructure, cybersecurity, and productivity issues.
Here’s another example from the commercial construction industry, a field where we do a lot of our work.
- Do you have the mobile Internet solutions to keep onsite workers connected and productive?
- Have you implemented the right cybersecurity protections to protect blueprints, schematics, and supplier information as your remote workers communicate with office staff?
- Do you have the technology in place to facilitate vendor relationships and ensure smooth, secure communication with your sub-contractors?
According to Gartner, 50% of organizations plan to increase collaboration between business and IT teams through the end of the year.
At the most extreme examples, think of companies like Amazon or Apple, where technology is integrated and aligned with the operating structure.
What Business-Technology Alignment Is Not
Another good way to understand the benefits of business-IT alignment is to understand what it’s not.
It’s Not a One-off Project
Like cybersecurity or cloud infrastructure, business-IT alignment isn’t something that you achieve and then forget about. The reason is that your network and business goals are dynamic, requiring either your in-house or outsourced IT management team to continuously evaluate and adjust priorities to maintain that alignment.
It’s Not Another IT Expense
There is a significant amount of effort that it requires to keep your IT aligned with your goals, but you shouldn’t see that effort as a cost. Instead, that work is valuable due diligence that helps your control your IT budget and ensure that money is spent on projects that positively impact your bottom line.
Even at well-staffed enterprises up to 70% of all IT projects fail to achieve their stated goals. (McKinsey)
The Benefits of Aligning Your Business and Technology
The work of a vCIO is not an intangible or academic; it has real-world benefits that your business can start to feel soon. Those benefits compound over time as your foster that alignment and continue to perfect the way that your IT and business departments collaborate.
Maximize your IT budget
Organizations waste somewhere around X% percent of their technology budgets annually. Sometimes, this is because a projects was poorly conceived or planned, while other times it’s simply that the organization lacked the expertise to bring the project to a satisfactory completion.
Operational efficiency and morale
When your team is saddled with the wrong tools for the job, it has a direct negative impact on the productivity of your company. More corrosive, it could start to make your team feel as if management isn’t taking growth seriously and cause them to seek more fertile avenues for growth.
Improve business transformation
Is your business exploring new revenue streams and integrating your new technologies in such a way as to create new business value? Companies today are harnessing their data in novel ways unavailable just half a decade ago, helping them unlock new insights, innovate new products, and stay ahead of the competition
Stronger customer experience
Providing a good customer experience is one of the top concerns of business leaders, according to a recent study by this guy. Digital technologies like cloud, mobile devices, and now augment reality and virtual reality have help organizations provide a more compelling and engaging
Culture matters—a lot. Up to 86% of job seekers wouldn’t seek employment from a company with a bad public image. Having technology that provides a positive, consistent experience for your employees is how successful firms like Nvidia, Apple, and Google have bult an enduring company culture that attracts top talent.
myITprocess: The First Toolkit for vCIOs
Just like most sales teams rely on their CRM teams and accountants rely on QuickBooks, most vCIOs rely on a host of tools like Microsoft Excel, digital note taking applications, network audit and cybersecurity tools, and many others to do their work.
The problem with this approach is that it’s inefficient, forcing your vCIO to switch between different tools for each part of their job and move data between tools.
High-performing vCIO teams have found a better way. They’ll come equipped with specialized set of software tools designed for doing their work, like myITprocess. Centralizing all a vCIO teams work into one suite helps the Astute Technology Management vCIO team, and other do their work with speed and efficiency.
Here are some of the tasks that myITprocess helps us with:
- Evaluate existing technology
- Minimize reactive IT management tasks
- Quickly develop technology standards for our clients
- Build strategic reports and IT roadmaps
Align Your Business and Technology with a Veteran vCIO Team
We understand that most small and midsized businesses in Ohio don’t have the resources or expertise to keep their technology and business goals in alignment. That’s why we’ve designed our vCIO service to provide everything that businesses in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland need to achieve and maintain that alignment with no worry or stress.
Contact our friendly, responsive team any time at 614 389 4102 or [email protected] to find out about our process, tools, and custom service!