Posts Tagged ‘Legacy system’

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Shadows in the late afternoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I read an article of Raf Cammarano, which got my attention. In this article it is stated that alignment is about a fixed position at a certain point of time. Although I have seen lots of other definitions, which define Alignment as a process, rather than a state, Cammarano defines alignment as making sure everyone is on the same pag at day 1. He states that the real issue is about synchronization, making sure everyone stays on the same page from day 2 onwards. On this I agree. Cammarano comes up with four interesting types of lag, which all make it impossible for IT to stay synchronized:

  • Stimulus lag: the delay between the business changing course and IT finding out about it
  • Response lag: the delay between IT finding out about the change and deciding what to do about it
  • Execution lag: the delay between IT deciding what to do and actually doing it.
  • Results lag: the delay between IT completing what it needed to do, and the business seeing the results.

These four types of lag are recognizable, at least in my experience. Interesting though, is that many strategic alignment models and theories focus primarily on reducing the first two types of lag, by making sure IT’s strategy and business’ strategy are aligned. But, I am convinced that the last two types of lag, execution and results, are driving alignment even more. This is also something which is mentioned in my previous post, in which successful IT history is named an important influencer of the success of alignment.

Also in a survey published by A.T. Kearney, it is stressed that there is still work to do. While Business and IT executives agree on intent, they often disagree on delivery and execution. Business and IT executives have – according to the survey – very different perceptions on execution, and business executives are also more sceptical of IT’s budgetary efficiency.

Cammarano doesn’t mention real suggestions HOW to minimize the lags, although Oursourcing and Cloud computing should enable the synchronization or ‘movement’ strategy, as it is compared with a guerrilla. Cloud and outsourcing could eliminate fixed positions (data centres and legacy systems) and bring in additional firepower (outsourcing).

Reference

Raf Cammarano (2012) on http://www.rafcammarano.com/content/alignment-yesterdays-war.aspx

A.T. Kearney: Why Today’s IT Organizantion Won’t Work Tomorrow, 2012 http://www.atkearney.com/index.php/Publications/why-todayss-it-organization-wont-work-tomorrow.html

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The fifth dimension of the Strategic Alignment Maturity Model of Luftman (2000) is Scope and Architecture. When assessing the business/IT alignment maturity, an important element is how mature the more technical part is perceived. Often, this domain scores somewhat higher, due to the origin of most IT departments, which is the technical side. But, while companies also run into inflexible legacy systems, the maturity sometimes is negative influenced. Let’s look at the (four) attributes.

First, the scope of the usage of IT. Is IT just traditional office supporting, or is IT more important and enables and drives IT the business? The second attribute is about the availability of clear standards. It’s not only the availabilty what matters, but also wether these standards are followed or not across the enterprise.

The next attribute looks at the level of integration of IT withinthe company. The more integrated, the higher the maturity assessment scores on this attribute. Finally, the last attribute is on flexibility of the chosen architecture. Can IT respond to fast changing business needs?

Reference

Luftman, Jerry: Assessing Business-IT Alignment Maturity, Communications of AIS, Volume 4, Article 14, December 2000