Value of IT: Introduction

John Trice

The real issue of business and IT alignment and integration arises from a true understanding of the company’s business imperatives across the entire enterprise. Business imperatives define the outcomes that the business must achieve in order to support its corporate strategies. They are direct, actionable statements with measurable targets.

Business imperatives should provide direction for all key business decisions. As Robert H. Miles said in his book Leading Corporate Transformation, “Successful corporate transformations do not spring from energy alone. That energy must be focused on a clear, concise, and compelling vision of a highly desirable future state.” Clear business imperatives should quantify key priorities for the business in the short- and long-term future and should be collected through business interviews with key stakeholders and leadership within the business. People often ask how to differentiate the business imperatives from business nice-to-haves. Well, if the price of the status quo is more than the cost of transformation, it becomes a business imperative—a burning platform. This is elaborated by the true story of a survivor of a fire on an oil rig. One of the workers at the rig jumped eleven stories into freezing water because the deck was on fire. When interviewed later and asked how he managed to jump, his response was, “It was a choice between imminent death and some probability of survival.”

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