Can you imagine people talking about “aligning” accounting and finance to the business? Or “aligning” the CEO to the business? That would be pretty pathetic, wouldn’t it? So why do we constantly fret about “business-IT alignment”? I like these provoking questions Joe McKendrick raises in his ZDnet post.
Because the more we think about aligning IT and business, the more we feel the chasm between the two, or the wall. Joe McKendrick would say that there is none. And – culture wise – he is right, of course. And it’s also true what Andy Kyte, vice president and Gartner fellow, claimed at a Gartner IT conference: “None of you are in IT; all of you are in business.”
But on the other hand it still makes sense to talk about system logic and business logic as two different things. Otherwise it would be difficult to tell the difference between job scheduling and workload automation, as Mark Carkeek, UC4 Vice President of Product Development, points out: “Job scheduling was always just an IT thing (to run X-process at Y-time), whereas workload automation actually helps running the business. Because it hooks into many different business products, like files, reports, databases, and applications, UC4 is able to see into these disparate IT resources, and can act on them. We have become workload automation because our software is not just for IT, and it’s not just for business. Because systems cross business and IT boundaries and need to interact reliably for the company’s good.”
Even if Peter Hinssen (Business/IT Fusion: How to move beyond Alignment …) believes that “alignment is simply a dead-end street” … and that it’s time “for a complete overhaul of IT, and a complete rethinking of the relationship between business and IT” – the discussion – whether ALIGNMENT or FUSION is the right term to describe the challenge of this journey – remains a bit academic. But we agree with him about what really counts: “The elimination of the wall separating IT and business around/ through/over/under which alignment is supposed to happen.”