Respond To 2 Colleagues Post
Assignment and 2 Colleagues post attached. Please use 7th edition APA citations and References
Review a selection of your colleagues’ posts from earlier in the week, focusing on the best practices and key activities that are necessary in successfully managing business information systems. Respond to two or more of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
· Explain the similarities and/or differences between your own findings and those identified by your colleague. Why do you think your analysis of the case was similar to or different from your colleague’s?
· Share what you believe could potentially impede or enable an organization when aligning its IT and business strategy.
· Offer additional best practices or tools organizations could use in aligning IT strategy and business strategy. Explain why those are important and effective. What specific steps does an organization need to take to make sure it continuously monitors how well these strategies align?
Please be specific, and use citations and references as appropriate and necessary.
1st Colleague to respond to:
From my analysis and interpretation, it seems to me that there are currently lines between business and information technology to the point that the respective departments have very little structures of communication or project planning. Cheryl Smith needs to respectively show these managers an example of a previous high priority project and how the lack the transparency affected its delivery to the consumers without alienating the group. She can then utilize a comparative model to show how the reorganization of the department with a clear direction and focus will allow predictive feature development and business value quicker. Additionally, I would advise utilizing some liberating structures (there are several to choose from) to get inputs from the managers so that they feel like their ideas are being heard and their concerns are being addressed.
Within my current organization that I work for, I have been fortunate that they have promoted Agility to the teams and continue to evaluate the organizational structure to ensure critical business areas have dedicated IT resources. Prioritization of features, constant feedback, iterative deliveries that can be measured, and partnering our business with our IT teams have been vital to building new functionality and staying ahead in technology adoption in the marketplace. Infrastructure is another area outlined by Munro and Khan (2017), “A common operations team with common skills to support a common infrastructure is highly cost-effective. This allowed the business-facing IT groups to be totally responsive to business needs and priorities but ensured that all applications and systems came into and were supported by a common infrastructure.” (p.7) This has been a crucial facet of our operating model as well. We look for additional ways to take this to another level within IT; we empower our teams with self-service capabilities to spin up additional environments and databases by appropriating automation.
A couple of strategies from researching materials available to us via the Walden Library were to utilize a scorecard or similar mechanism to evaluate how much an IT investment is currently costing the company in contrast to the department’s contribution towards the highest priority business value. (Karin, 1998) There needs to be a clear vision across both business and IT that is understood and aligned to drive the organization towards higher goals. As written by Bruce Karin (1998), “innovations have been successful because they increased their flexibility to reconfigure markets, customers, and products, while simultaneously increasing convenience and information availability to the end customer” (p.2). Flexibility, alignment, and transparency seem like simple terms that are used loosely at times by companies. Still, without them, we risk building the wrong things and losing strength within the marketplace. When Cheryl Smith reviewed the current skills and number of IT employees, it was found that WestJet was at a proper level to support the business but not adequately focused on business priorities or directed to different business objectives. IT staffing levels, department investment, skillsets within those employees, and resource dedication are items that leadership in any size company needs to review and adapt when needed continuously.
In closing, there are several risks to an organization that doesn’t continue to adapt IT investments in response to the business strategy needs. In my professional experiences, you will have a laundry list of business projects from numerous different areas, all trying to get the resources they need at the same time. In the end, you reduce the effectiveness of your IT staff and increase timeline delivery on potential improvements that could positively impact consumers. Over time, this continues to “snowball” as the company falls further behind from the competition within the same market space. Those willing to adapt to change and stay ahead of the technology curve will have the best opportunity to continue growing.
Bruce Karin. (1998). Can you align IT with business strategy? Strategy & Leadership, 26(5), 16–20. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1108/eb054620
Munro, M., & Khan, S. (2013). WestJet Airlines: Information technology governance and © 2019 Laureate Education, Inc. Page 9 of 12 corporate strategy (Ivey Publishing Case Study No. 9B13E020)
2nd Colleague to respond to:
Organizations need to understand the role of information technology in corporate strategy because it fosters innovation and growth which drives success. In this case study Cheryl Smith, the CIO of WestJet understands the influence of information technology and the importance it has on revenue-generating operations for the company. Her internal assessment along with the help of a third-party analysis has helped to identify gaps. Cheryl Smith’s first instinct was to bring two performance experts to carry out a benchmarking study with similar companies in the transportation industry. The objective of this study was to compare WestJet’s IT cost, resources, and budget to the industry standards. From the results of this study, Cheryl was able to find out many facts including that the IT group of the company was technically competent. She realized that comparing to the industry the IT number of employees had different skill sets. Another fact was that half of the systems, operations, and procedures of the company were industry-standard. The IT department had invented its operation around the company’s needs. The study showed that IT was on target with the industry with its budget and number of employees. Lastly, the IT department was structured according to what suited it better. It had been using its internal functions for planning, operating, building, etc. The work structure allowed everyone in each group to perform activities with other members enabling them to respond quickly to emergency requests. Cheryl was able to break everything down and find the strengths and weaknesses of this strategy.
My organization is continuously looking for numerous ways to find the right technology, expertise, efficient processes and procedures, and solid systems. Any company or corporation cannot survive without an IT Department run by an IT officer or a CIO. WestJet did not have a CIO in its IT Department, and this was a problem for them. The IT Department could not keep up with new developments in the market, and other challenges. In my organization, it is competent that there is an officer for every department. When there is an error with the computer software there is always a number to call and the IT department handles it. The CFO understands that when you do not hire someone with expertise to solve these issues it affects the company as a whole. When the system is slow or not working it hinders the process of teller transactions not going through. My organization’s business strategies are that any small internal error can create a greater issue if not fixed.
The best tools and techniques that organizations can use to align IT strategy with business strategy is strong communication, collaboration, and care. According to Balakrishnan (2012), “This seems like an obvious one, but most CIOs underestimate the amount of the communication and how one-sided it can be” (Leadership). Communication is key. It is crucial to talk to businesspeople in a language that they understand. The IT department must translate and consolidate requirements into a cohesive plan. Both parties need to hear each other out and take in interest in what they are speaking about. Not being able to understand each other’s viewpoints can create misalignments. It is better to plan ahead and accordingly. This creates credibility and engagement. Collaboration is working with groups of people to better diagnose a problem. This technique helps clean up the issue at a faster rate because you are working with many people. Understanding and asking questions in this team effort will be helpful. This part of the process can include achieving business goals, improving customer service, business relationships, lower IT costs, improving risk management, and organizational effectiveness. When they gather data it will give them a comparison to where they share similar interests with their competitor. Genuinely caring about a company’s business is what aligns everything together. If there is no interest and no passion then you are just doing it for the wrong reasons. When you genuinely care your idea becomes more effective and businesses value your thoughts and reasoning. Understanding people on their level and helping them not only brings lights to their eyes but gives you insights on what more you can do to achieve your results. An alternative organization use to ensure their strategies are in alignment is that they innovate and recognize and reward those who adopt new behaviors. Innovation helps bring in change. Change can be acquired through different resources. It takes one person to jump ship before everyone else does.
The WestJet must adopt these resources for it to still operate. Not using these resources comes with many risks and can create a catastrophe. WestJet would not operate smoothly. This decision would affect all of the departments and employees. There would be no communication between the IT department and other business units. The connection would be lost and there would be a loss of competitive advantage. Many customers will join the rival firm. With its budgeting and planning risk, there would be not enough funding to allocate funds in its correct plan. Projects would not be completed which creates unproductivity, and everyone will end up quitting out of frustration. Eventually, all of the operations would cease due to this horrific play. Not looking for the alignment gaps can bring the alignment of IT and business strategy to a halt. Investing in these resources would be a better choice if employees would like to see this Airline operate. According to Munro and Khan (2013), “As Smith and the senior IT leadership team pondered the “big picture” in these opening weeks, they concluded that if WestJet hoped to sustain its rate of growth and build on its remarkable success, IT would be a critical success factor” (p. 7)
Munro, M., & Khan, S. (2013). WestJet Airlines: Information technology governance and corporate strategy (Ivey Publishing Case Study No. 9B13E020).
Balakrishnan, M. (2012, September 30). Leadership. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from http://sandhill.com/article/three-tips-for-cios-to-align-technology-strategy-with-business-strategy/