IT/Business alignment in practice

Published on January 31, 2019   28 min

A selection of talks on Technology & Operations

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Hello, my name is Anna Karpovsky and I am a lecturer at Questrom School of Management at Boston University. My research focuses on information systems strategy, strategic issues in the context of information system technology. The main concern and consideration in information systems strategy is this concept of alignment. So today's lecture is going to focus on alignment. I will present some of the current conceptualization of the concept of alignment, as well as present some of the findings of my recent research where you could find the research findings in a paper published in the "Journal of Information Technology" under the title of "Aligning in Practice from Current Cases to a New Agenda".
IT business alignment has been a topic of considerable attention in the academic and traditional literature for over three decades. This is unsurprising given that the alignment has been consistently rated as a top 10 IT management concern over that period of time. A common argument on alignment literature is that alignment or organizations that align their business with their information technology, leads to a more focus and strategic use of information technology and consequently leads to a better business performance. However, despite this extensive research on the topic, the concept of alignment remains somewhat elusive. There are multiple different reasons for that. One reason that we have multiple definitions, terms and terminology that researchers and scholars have used in this field. Some would actually consider alignment as a match between business and IT, some consider fit, synchronization, synergy and other terminology that has been used. Also alignment literature has been criticized for being somewhat weak in theoretical grounding and weak in operationalization of its constructs and again, that probably leads or is a result of the terminology that has been used in the field. And also when we talk about alignment, the key question relates to what exactly needs to be aligned with what in an organization. Alignment happens at different levels of organization and therefore becomes very difficult when you try to first of all conceptualize it and then measure it and build a theory around the concept.