alignmentWe’ve been talking about “aligning IT with the business” since SOA first took legs but you rarely see CONCRETE EXMAPLES OF WHAT THAT REALLY MEANS.

It sounds much more grand and lofty than it really is. To put it in layman’s terms, or at least take it out of marketing terms, aligning IT with the business is really nothing more than justifying or tying a particular IT investment or project to a specific business goal. What that means ultimately is that you, as an IT professional, must understand what those business goals are in the first place. Once you know the goals, you can translate them to an IT goal and then down into specific operational implementations supporting or enabling that goal. If that operational implementation requires an investment, you can then justify the investment based on support for that specific business goal.

Here are a few examples of translation from business goal to operational implementation:

BUSINESS GOAL IT GOAL OPERATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION
Improve customer satisfaction Ensure CSR (Customer Service Representative) systems are fast Utilize application acceleration and optimization technologies (caching, compression, TCP multiplexing and offload) as a means to improve the performance of web applications.
Protect customer data Tighten application security policies Augment existing application security solutions with DLP (Data Leak Prevention) capabilities to reaffirm the integrity and security of sensitive customer data.
Take full advantage of seasonal opportunities Ensure additional capacity available on-demand to improve availability during peak traffic rushes Implement a cloudbursting architecture that takes advantage of a VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) to ensure additional capacity is available or prepare existing application delivery network to augment additional “pools” of servers during seasonal rush.

Being able to tie operational implementations back to a business goal will help foster a better relationship with business stakeholders. It’s much easier for IT to show value when it can map technology and implementation needs back to a specific need or goal expressed by the business. It doesn’t need to be a treatise (unless your organization requires that, of course) on how X feature fulfills Y need. Just remember Seth, and WILS, and KISS. Keep it simple, to the point, and make it easy to understand.

WILS: Write It Like Seth. Seth Godin always gets his point across with brevity and wit. WILS is an ATTEMPT TO BE concise about application delivery TOPICS AND just get straight to the point. NO DILLY DALLYING AROUND.

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