Avoiding the Alignment Trap in IT Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

For several years now, businesses seeking to deliver higher company performance by exploiting IT have focused on alignment - the degree to which the IT group understands the precedence of the company. In reasonable terms, that means there must be mutual ownership and shared government of IT projects. However, the columnist state that their research reveals a troubling pattern: Even at companies that were focused on alignment, business operation dependent on IT occasionally went sideways or even declined. That's because capabilities that are underperforming are often rooted not only in misalignment but the complexity of systems, programs, and other infrastructure.

On the adverse, the authors say, in some situations it can, in fact, get worse. Costs increase, delays build, and the fragmentation makes it difficult for managers to coordinate across business units. The research also demonstrated that almost three-quarters of respondents are mired in the "care zone." IT at these businesses is underperforming, undervalued, and kept largely different from the core business functions of business. Corporate management budgets the quantities necessary to keep the systems running, but IT does not offer enough additional value to the company and regularly is not expected to. Drawing on the understanding of Charles Schwab & Co., Selective Insurance Group, De Beers, First Data Corp. and National City, among others, the creators identify a group of best practices that constitute "IT-empowered increase."

PUBLICATION DATE: October 01, 2007 PRODUCT #: SMR260-HCB-ENG

This is just an excerpt. This case is about TECHNOLOGY & OPERATIONS

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