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It and Business Align Essay

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Proceedings of the 37th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - 2004

Aligning Technology and Business Strategy: Issues & Frameworks,
A Field Study of 15 Companies
Joseph W. Weiss, Ph.D
Bentley College
Management Department
175 Forest St.
Waltham, MA 02452

Don Anderson, MBA
Bentley College
175 Forest St.
Waltham, MA 02452

This paper presents survey and interview findings
from 21 Senior IT and business executives in 15
organizations including several Fortune 500 and 1000
firms. Survey, interviews, and field observational
techniques were used to characterize organizations as
Operational, Strategic Resource, or Strategic Weapon
profiles based on level of business/IT strategy
alignment. Results indicate that strategic alignment
occurs most frequently across industries and
organizations at functional and team levels, followed
by the business unit, and enterprise levels. Our
findings confirm studies that argue the continuing
difficulty organizations experience in achieving
enterprise alignment of IT and business strategy. Our
results also showed that knowledge management
capabilities were the least used integrating enablers.
Project management skills were identified as the most
frequently used alignment resources, followed by
innovation, and entrepreneurial capabilities. Reasons
offered for these findings include: limited level of
know-how by professionals, organizational structural
and cultural barriers, and production pressures to use
existing technologies. Future research and practical
suggestions for alignment are offered.

1. Introduction
Organizations that have been able to
successfully integrate technology and business strategy
have created significant business returns. Information
Technology (IT) has become an important enabler of
business strategies in such areas of mass customization,
competitive differentiation, quality improvements, and

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