Business/IT strategic alignment perspectives

(Henderson & Venkatraman, 1989) identified four perspectives that can help address issues arising from the simultaneous assessment of cross-domain relationship during strategic fit and functional integration in the SAM model, they are:

Strategy execution perspective: In this dimension of business/IT strategic alignment perspective the business strategy is the main domain and considered the business driver for the organisation while other elements such as the organisational infrastructure, business process and IS/IT infrastructure and processes are planned in line with or constantly fine-tuned to keep up with current business realities as business strategy changes (Coleman & Papp, 2006). Strategic execution perspective is a top-down approach method of strategic alignment model which has the roles of top management and the IS/IT managers are well defined, here top management is saddled with the responsibility of formulating the contents and process of the business strategy to be adopted while the job of the IT manager is to design and implement IT infrastructure and process that can support any chosen business strategy.

Technology transformation perspective: In this perspective business strategy is still considered as the driver but the implementation of any chosen business strategy is dependent on IT strategy and IT infrastructure and processes to provide a platform to succeed, this perspective attempts to establish a strategic fit for IT where IT strategy is exploited to enable business strategy as such showing the value of IT. This perspective requires the technology vision and influence for organisational change to support any adopted business strategy to come from executive management as such a proper knowledge of the understanding of the interrelationships between the business strategy, IT strategy and IS/IT and processes is required.

Competitive potential perspective: In this perspective IT is considered as the change catalyst, here IT capabilities is exploited to formulate the organisation’s business strategy scope and competencies. This perspective requires IT managers to assess the impact of emerging technologies on the business in terms of opportunities and threats and see how such opportunities can influence or enable new business strategy and in turn create competitive advantage for the business. The executive management plays the role of business visionary and is expected to consider how best to exploit emerging technology to influence major organisational change while clearly stating the competencies, functionalities as governance pattern of such IT technology in the market place.

Service level perspective: This alignment perspective is concerned with the interrelationships between IT strategy which is the anchor domain and IS/IT infrastructure and processes which is the pivot domain. This perspective is focused on building and sustaining reputable technology product and services. This perspective is common in IT service organisations and relies on exploring the strategic fit between IT strategy and IT infrastructure and processes to stimulate customer demand for valued IT services. The role of the business domain is to control how to maintain customer demand as such the need for business managers to make available the needed resources required to support the strategy adopted and IT manager in this case play the executive role to make the IT service successful.   



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