Bi-Directional Business/IT Alignment

Bi-Directional Business/IT Alignment

Hashim Chunpir (German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ), Germany), Frederik Schulte (University of Hamburg, Germany), Yannick Bartens (University of Hamburg, Germany) and Stefan D. Voß (University of Hamburg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch052

Abstract

Business/IT (information technology) alignment can be considered as one of the key challenges of information management (IM). A vast majority of studies assumes an uni-directional alignment process that seeks to link the IT strategies to superior business objectives. However, there are plenty of market situations where the ability of an enterprise, or even entire branches, to adjust their business model to new IT developments is crucial to survive among their competitors. Not only under the umbrella of new buzz words like digital transformation and digital transition and their glaring examples such as media streaming, these competitive requirements have recently become more vital. Currently dominating business-driven alignment paradigms are seemingly not capable to accommodate these requirements to a full extent. In this chapter, the concept of bi-directional business/IT alignment is explained and defined by extending a well-known 3-layer model of IM. Furthermore, it is analyzed to which extent different IM models as well as common IT governance frameworks support this paradigm.
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Background: Fundamentals Of Business It/ Alignment

In this section, a background on the fundamentals of business / IT alignment is given. The alignment of the strategic plans of a business and its IT can be considered an important responsibility and function of IM (Krcmar, 2010). Furthermore, the current state of IM and business/IT alignment is defined and presented in the following.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business /IT Alignment: The process and goal of achieving competitive advantage through developing and sustaining a symbiotic relationship between business and IT.

Layer Model of Information Management: A structuring model that defines layers of information management, e.g., with respect to the level of technology used.

Information Management: The economic (efficient) planning, acquisition, processing, distribution and allocation of information as a resource for the preparation and support of decisions (decision-making), as well as designing the required infrastructure for this purpose.

Bi-Directional Business IT Alignment: The process and goal of achieving competitive advantage through developing and sustaining a symbiotic relationship between business and IT, while emphasizing an often omitted bi-directional alignment between business and IT.

ITIL: Framework that aligns IT services to the needs of the business and support its core processes.

IT Governance: Framework function for the administration, organization, and control of IT in enterprises and public organizations.

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