Ask these 100 Questions to Align Business and IT

Here is a list of 100 potential questions to help align business and IT:

  1. What are the business objectives and how can technology support them?
  2. How can IT support the company’s strategy and goals?
  3. How can IT and the business work together to identify and prioritize projects?
  4. How can IT and the business ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget?
  5. How can IT and the business measure the success of technology initiatives?
  6. How can IT and the business improve communication and collaboration?
  7. How can IT and the business manage and mitigate risks?
  8. How can IT and the business ensure data security and compliance?
  9. How can IT and the business leverage emerging technologies to gain a competitive advantage?
  10. How can IT and the business improve the user experience and customer satisfaction?
  11. How can IT and the business align IT investments with business objectives?
  12. How can IT and the business develop a shared vision for technology initiatives?
  13. How can IT and the business optimize IT infrastructure for the business?
  14. How can IT and the business manage IT costs effectively?
  15. How can IT and the business improve IT service levels?
  16. How can IT and the business improve IT governance?
  17. How can IT and the business ensure that IT decisions are aligned with business objectives?
  18. How can IT and the business implement IT service management best practices?
  19. How can IT and the business improve IT performance measurement?
  20. How can IT and the business improve IT-business alignment?
  21. How can IT and the business improve IT-business communication?
  22. How can IT and the business improve IT-business collaboration?
  23. How can IT and the business align IT with the company’s overall strategy?
  24. How can IT and the business improve IT-business coordination?
  25. How can IT and the business improve IT-business integration?
  26. How can IT and the business improve IT-business relationship?
  27. How can IT and the business improve IT-business alignment metrics?
  28. How can IT and the business implement IT-business alignment best practices?
  29. How can IT and the business improve IT-business process alignment?
  30. How can IT and the business improve IT-business strategy alignment?
  31. How can IT and the business improve IT-business value alignment?
  32. How can IT and the business improve IT-business culture alignment?
  33. How can IT and the business improve IT-business leadership alignment?
  34. How can IT and the business improve IT-business governance alignment?
  35. How can IT and the business improve IT-business organizational alignment?
  36. How can IT and the business improve IT-business process management alignment?
  37. How can IT and the business improve IT-business change management alignment?
  38. How can IT and the business improve IT-business project management alignment?
  39. How can IT and the business improve IT-business risk management alignment?
  40. How can IT and the business improve IT-business service management alignment?
  41. How can IT and the business improve IT-business knowledge management alignment?
  42. How can IT and the business improve IT-business compliance alignment?
  43. How can IT and the business improve IT-business data management alignment?
  44. How can IT and the business improve IT-business security alignment?
  45. How can IT and the business improve IT-business architecture alignment?
  46. How can IT and the business improve IT-business operations alignment?
  47. How can IT and the business improve IT-business application alignment?
  48. How can IT and the business improve IT-business system alignment?
  49. How can IT and the business improve IT-business network alignment?
  50. How can IT and the business improve IT-business software alignment?
  51. How can IT and the business improve IT-business hardware alignment?
  52. How can IT and the business improve IT-business technology alignment?
  53. How can IT and the business improve IT-business resource alignment?
  54. How can IT and the business improve IT-business personnel alignment?
  55. How can IT and the business improve IT-business training alignment?
  56. How can IT and the business improve IT-business budget alignment?
  57. How can IT and the business improve IT-business investment alignment?
  58. How can IT and the business improve IT-business procurement alignment?
  59. How can IT and the business improve IT-business vendor management alignment?
  60. How can IT and the business improve IT-business outsourcing alignment?
  61. How can IT and the business improve IT-business partnership alignment?
  62. How can IT and the business improve IT-business innovation alignment?
  63. How can IT and the business improve IT-business agility alignment?
  64. How can IT and the business improve IT-business scalability alignment?
  65. How can IT and the business improve IT-business flexibility alignment?
  66. How can IT and the business improve IT-business reliability alignment?
  67. How can IT and the business improve IT-business availability alignment?
  68. How can IT and the business improve IT-business continuity alignment?
  69. How can IT and the business improve IT-business disaster recovery alignment?
  70. How can IT and the business improve IT-business recovery time alignment?
  71. How can IT and the business improve IT-business recovery point alignment?
  72. How can IT and the business improve IT-business automation alignment?
  73. How can IT and the business improve IT-business integration alignment?
  74. How can IT and the business improve IT-business standardization alignment?
  75. How can IT and the business improve IT-business optimization alignment?
  76. How can IT and the business improve IT-business simplification alignment?
  77. How can IT and the business improve IT-business rationalization alignment?
  78. How can IT and the business improve IT-business consolidation alignment?
  79. How can IT and the business improve IT-business modernization alignment?
  80. How can IT and the business improve IT-business transformation alignment?
  81. How can IT and the business improve IT-business digital alignment?
  82. How can IT and the business improve IT-business mobile alignment?
  83. How can IT and the business improve IT-business cloud alignment?
  84. How can IT and the business improve IT-business analytics alignment?
  85. How can IT and the business improve IT-business intelligence alignment?
  86. How can IT and the business improve IT-business machine learning alignment?
  87. How can IT and the business improve IT-business artificial intelligence alignment?
  88. How can IT and the business improve IT-business Internet of Things alignment?
  89. How can IT and the business improve IT-business blockchain alignment?
  90. How can IT and the business improve IT-business cybersecurity alignment?
  91. How can IT and the business improve IT-business compliance alignment?
  92. How can IT and the business improve IT-business regulations alignment?
  93. How can IT and the business improve IT-business laws alignment?
  94. How can IT and the business improve IT-business standards alignment?
  95. How can IT and the business improve IT-business industry best practices alignment?
  96. How can IT and the business improve IT-business customer alignment?
  97. How can IT and the business improve IT-business partner alignment?
  98. How can IT and the business improve IT-business supplier alignment?
  99. How can IT and the business improve IT-business employee alignment?
  100. How can IT and the business improve IT-business culture alignment?

It’s important to note that these are only suggestions and that the specific questions that need to be asked may vary depending on the organization and its specific needs. Additionally, it’s important that these questions are not only asked but also followed up with actionable steps to align business and IT.

5 Questions to Ask About Business-IT Relationships

Within organizations, people in individual roles, middle management, and executives use different types of technologies to accomplish their goals. Depending upon their experiences, the perception/use/biases of technology can range from being a corporate obligation to being the only catalyst for transformative change. The truth is, these two perceptions/uses/biases of technology are extreme. We need a balanced understanding of what can and can’t be accomplished through technology.

In my view, this balanced understanding of technology requires healthy relationships between the Information Technology (IT) Department and the various Business (non-IT) Departments. To achieve this, here are some points to consider:

  • At the inter-departmental level, observe power dynamics and culture
  • At the processes level, observe interactions/overlaps/silos
  • At the people level, observe friendly/adversarial interactions

All healthy relationships require effort by everyone to create and maintain it. Similar is the case for healthy Business-IT relationships. This means that healthy Business-IT relationships shouldn’t be thought of as a one-way IT issue but rather a multiway organizational communications issue wrapped around Discipline, Unity, Empathy, and Trust (DUET).

Discipline

Within departmental boundaries, discipline is created through hiring/firing practices, policies, procedures, rules, and training. Due to the siloed nature of creating discipline, friction may arise when what the Business department desires is at odds with what the IT department is capable of doing. For healthy Business-IT relationships, we need inter and intra-departmental discipline that requires people to:

  • Be aware of their own department’s discipline (or lack thereof)
  • Make no judgments about what business and IT departments are (not) doing
  • Communicate the impacts of business and IT processes on each other

Unity

In order to create unity inside an organization, every department tries to align departmental goals with organizational goals. Sometimes a department’s alignment goals can be in conflict with another department’s alignment goals. This can create an Us vs. Them mentality. For example, in most organizations, the IT department is responsible for cybersecurity, however, there might be occasions when a business department purchases software to improve its own business processes without knowing about the underlying security vulnerabilities of the software. For healthy Business-IT relationships, we need inter and intra-departmental unity that requires people to:

  • Be aware of departmental goals that might affect other departments
  • Make decisions holistically rather than piecemeal
  • Communicate the impacts of unity (or lack of) with each other

Empathy

Often times when we are working in an organization, we are so focused on the tasks at hand that we forget that we have to take into consideration other people’s feelings and thoughts. Empathy makes us more receptive to understanding the visible and invisible pain points. When the IT department is gathering requirements, empathy will help in creating IT systems that people will use and be proud of contributing to. For business departments, empathy can also enhance employee experiences and customer experiences. For healthy Business-IT relationships, we need inter and intra-departmental empathy that requires people to:

  • Be aware of their own and others’ biases
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of position/title
  • Communicate pain points without the threat of repercussions

Trust

Without trust, you don’t have an organization, you just have a group of people getting a paycheck. Trust is established at many levels and it is the invisible glue that holds departments together. When an IT department manages software/hardware/IT services/vendors/partners keep in mind they are not doing this in isolation and business departments should reach out to them without hesitation. Similarly, IT departments should trust the business departments when it comes to their processes. IT should not enforce new processes on business departments but rather have a collaborative approach to what can be done to address issues productively. For healthy Business-IT relationships, we need inter and intra-departmental trust that requires people to:

  • Be aware of broken promises at all levels of the departments
  • Understand that trust is about relationship-building
  • Communicate how your trust can be earned/lost

Now that we understand that Business-IT relationships are DUETs, let’s ask a few self-reflecting questions:

Today Tomorrow
Who is responsible for creating healthy Business-IT relationships?Who should be responsible for creating healthy Business-IT relationships?
What communications, processes, and tools are available to encourage healthy Business-IT relationships?What communications, processes, and tools should be available to encourage healthy Business-IT relationships?
Where are the current obstacles to healthy Business-IT relationships?Where would future obstacles diminish healthy Business-IT relationships?
When do healthy Business-IT relationships break down?
When would healthy Business-IT relationships break down?
Why do healthy Business-IT relationships matter for your organization?Why should healthy Business-IT relationships matter for your organization?

It should be noted that creating healthy Business-IT relationships is not the responsibility of the IT Department only. Accounting, Business Development, Customer Service, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Operations, Sales, etc. need to develop healthy relationships with the IT Department as well. Bad Business-IT relationships directly result in issues with Business-IT alignment which can make the difference between success and failure.

Why Should Anyone Outside of IT or Leadership Care About Digital Transformation?

How to Address Preconceived Biases about Digital Transformation?

What are the Boundaries of Customer Experience?

%d bloggers like this: