Recently, a dutch consultancy firm – ForceFive – published the results of a survey on business/IT alignment maturity within several companies. What I found interesting, is the scale they used to define the alignment maturity level of these companies.
Well known are the maturity levels as defined by Luftman, starting at level 1, ending at level 5. ForceFive defined also five levels, but defined them differently. The stages they define are islands, recognition, collaboration, alignment and fusion. In fact, alignment is defined here as a certain state. And, fusion is defined as the ultimate state which companies can achieve.
Companies should strive to the level, which matches their specific situation, which is not neccessarily the top level.
The five levels are:
Islands (level 1)
Two separate worlds; lacking awareness of mutual dependency between business and IT.
Recognition (level 2)
Aware of mutual dependency. Business expects IT to be flexible in realizing their demands. IT imposes architecture and standards to the business.
Collaboration (level 3)
IT is seen as ‘business enabler’ to realize business objectives. Business defines processes and IT requirements. Business and IT are convinced of their mutual added value. Customer/Supplier relationship.
Alignment (level 4)
Shared processes which combine business and IT interests. Conflicts are prevented through deliberation and compromises.
Fusion (level 5)
Difference between business and IT becomes irrelevant. IT is integral part of business processes.
De IT organisatie van de toekomst, TIEM, January 2011 (Dutch). www.forcefive.nl