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|A typical view of the relationship between IT and business conceptually layers business functions on top of IT applications and infrastructure. This does not reflect operational reality and most often leads to misaligned business and IT processes with predictable built-in conflict.
||Old Business Model
Rethinking the relationships between "business" and "IT" yields a business model in sync with reality and the efforts required to create aligned business and IT functions.
New Business Model
The foundation of a business is its vision and strategy. The strategy drives a series of initiatives to establish the architecture of both business and IT functions. The organizational and technical architectures drive the design and implementation of business and IT infrastructure and processes. The (now) aligned business and IT processes support business capabilities that generate revenue, provide information required to execute the company's strategy, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
Competitive advantage flows from how well business and IT processes are aligned with each other and support the company's tactical and strategic objectives. It is critical that this alignment is achieved early and subsequently maintained not only through processes and policies but also through a culture that values collaboration.
A different representation shows more clearly that alignment is not a one-time event but is constantly being refined as the business matures.
A company's vision is stable over time. The strategy is also relatively stable but can adapt as technology is leveraged and constraints and available resources change. The strategy is "what" the business is going to accomplish. Executing the strategy leads immediately to defining the series of business and IT initiatives that are the steps to "how" the strategy will be implemented. These initiatives produce the architecture, processes, and infrastructure for the business and IT organizations.
Collaboration between business and IT results not only in IT functions understanding the needs of the business but also in business functions appreciating that IT processes are also business processes necessary to reliably and predictably support business capabilities now and into the future.