Why is alignment so difficult?

Ask any CIO to name the Holy Grail of the IT executive, and he or she is likely to say “alignment”. In fact, last spring, CIO magazine’s “State of the CIO 2003” survey found that CIOs cited aligning IT with business goals – along with prioritizing the demands of various business units – as their greatest challenge for the coming year. And we do mean challenge. Alignment, apparently, is a rare thing.

Just how rare it is became evident when CFO Publishing, publisher of CFO magazine, released results of a survey that looked at alignment from the other side of the great divide – the financial side. The survey, sponsored by Novell, asked CFOs to rate the alignment between IT and business goals in their companies. Almost half of the surveyed CFOs said that alignment, like the Holy Grail, has yet to be found. The study found that 44 percent of CFOs described the alignment of business and IT as weak, and 4 percent said alignment of IT and business did not exist.

Why is alignment so hard to achieve? Who, or what, is to blame? What has to happen to achieve the perfect alignment of IT and business goals? Tell us what you think. Send your responses to us at [email protected].

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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