Barriers in Business-IT Alignment in a Large Company in Manufacturing Area

Barriers in Business-IT Alignment in a Large Company in Manufacturing Area

Fadi Shammas (Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden), Guanjie Meng (Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden) and Lazar Rusu (Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJIDE.2020040101

Abstract

Business-IT alignment (BITA) continues to be a top management concern for the last ten years. Moreover, organizations mangers are still looking to understand the barriers between the status of alignment and misalignment. The barriers in BITA differ from a business area to another and particularly the authors have not found any research studies concerning the barriers in BITA in the manufacturing area in Sweden. Therefore, the research question is: What are the strategic, tactical, and operational barriers in business-IT alignment in a large company in manufacturing area? The research strategy is case study, and the data was collected through semi-structured interviews and also from company's internal documents and it was analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings of this study are a number of thirty barriers in BITA that includes six new barriers in BITA at operational, tactical and strategic level.
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Introduction

In the annual study of IT Issues and Trends conducted by Society for Information Management in 2018, business-IT alignment (BITA) is mentioned to be a top management concern for managers in different organizations (Kappelman et al., 2019). According to Luftman (2000, p. 3), business-IT alignment (BITA) is defined as “applying IT in an appropriate and timely way, in harmony with business strategies, goals, and needs.” Since the organizations are dynamic, there is a need to keep IT aligned with the ongoing changing needs of the organizations (Kappelman et al., 2017). In general, BITA means that the entire business entity and the entire IT entity are aligned starting from the strategic level to the operational level (Charoensuk, Wongsurawat, & Khang, 2014). According to Leonard & Seddon (2012), there are two motivators for alignment studies. One is strategic benefit brought by alignment, and the other is that alignment is considered a key issue for information system (IS) managers. Moreover, alignment of business strategy with IT strategy could improve organizational performance (Chan et al., 2006: Luftman et al., 2017). Hence an unsuccessful alignment could lead to wasted resources and unsuccessful IT initiatives, which affect the organizational and financial outcome in a negative way. The use of IT resources in an effective way by aligned firms allows them to leverage IT in order to take advantages of the market, to generate a sustainable competitive advantage, and also to increase the profitability (Gerow, Grover, Thatcher, & Roth, 2014).

Barriers exist in both statuses of achieving business-IT alignment and sustaining it. Addressing alignment is considered a difficult issue for practitioners in organizations without identifying the existing barriers. Accordingly, there is still a lack of studies of the factors that influence BITA, and particularly in the Swedish manufacturing area, that means that still there is still a need to identify these barriers and improve BITA (El-Mekawy, Rusu, Perjons, Sedvall, & Ekici, 2015a). To address this knowledge gap we have formulated the following research question: “What are the strategic, tactical, and operational barriers in business-IT alignment in large companies in manufacturing area in Sweden?”

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