Enterprise Alignment and the Challenge for Organization Development

Enterprise Alignment and the Challenge for Organization Development

Brian H. Cameron (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Shaun C. Knight (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-883-3.ch052
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Abstract

In today’s global, hyper-competitive business environment, enterprise alignment is a top concern with senior management. With mergers, global joint ventures, outsourcing/ off-shoring, and increased global competition, organizations are struggling with a host of enterprise alignment issues, particularly around information technology (IT) strategy alignment. Well-aligned systems and processes can provide an organization with a powerful source of competitive advantage. According to Gartner Group, the number one concern of business and IT professions world-wide is the alignment of IT and business strategies. Unfortunately, according to Whittle and Myrick (2005), less than 10% of the Global 2000 have well integrated systems that are aligned with the strategy of the business. In addition, according to Worren, Ruddle, and Moore (1999), organization development (OD) efforts are also often misaligned with the strategy of the business. These strategic misalignments are becoming an increasing concern to senior management and are areas of opportunity for OD and IT organizations.
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Background

The demands of a knowledge- and information-based economy will continue to keep these efforts at center stage, but a shift is already underway that positions organizations to evolve from being producers of phase-one style projects--which deal with understanding channels and business process optimization--to taking on the role of implementing and deploying complex technologies in support of supply chain management, Web-based distribution, and customer relationship management. An expanded scope of IT activities--due to the extension of IT to the larger world of suppliers, customers, and consultants, and the management of information, documents, and processes--is increasingly part of internal enterprise-wide technical architectures. These new ways of using IT will continue to put stress on already-strained human capital, causing the IT organization to continue partnering or sourcing projects through internal or external specialists.

According to Whittle et al. (2005), through 2006-12, significant phenomenon in IT and business will emerge that will affect IT’s influence on business. Technologies of permanent, major, or disruptive influence will emerge to drive new business megatrends. This phenomenon will precipitate leverageable derivative imperatives, in which leading executives will make ongoing investments. By 2007, the taxonomy of these megatrends, and derivative imperatives, will lay permanent, new ground rules in business/IT investment planning and strategy. These megatrends will also dramatically affect OD investment planning and strategy. New thought leaders will emerge and they will learn how to best interpret and react to these changes for competitive advantage.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Technology: A term that encompasses all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange and utilize information in its various forms.

Organization Development: The field of organizational development (OD) is concerned with the performance, development, and effectiveness of human organizations.

Knowledge Worker: A member of the organization who uses knowledge to be a more productive worker.

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