The goal of perfect alignment is unachievable because of the dynamic nature of business. Every organization operates in an ecosystem and is affected by the forces at play in it. Economy, industry, competitors etc. are all players in this ecosystem who are continuously evolving. Similarly, knowledge and tools – such as information technology - are also continuously changing. To remain competitive i.e. maintain differentiation, every organization must adapt in response to the actions and activities of others in its ecosystem. Organizations that do not adapt lose their competitive edge over time and disappear.
Add to this the changes in an organization’s internal environment – structure, skills, finances, personnel, knowledge, core competency etc. – and now one has a potent mix of forces that demand change in response.
This continuous change is the cause of perpetual misalignment.
It takes time to understand the impact of the actions of others. It takes time to take action. While you are reacting, the world is not stationary – it is throwing more stuff your way. By the time you are done, you are out of alignment. To be precise, while you are taking action, you are out of alignment!
Till we have perfect predictive modeling and instant systems, no organization will ever be in perfect alignment. The best one can do is to move “toward” alignment i.e. moving in the right direction.
Do not let this discourage you from pursuing business and IT alignment! It is a worthy goal to pursue. Indeed, it is a critical one to pursue. You might never reach alignment but you can take steps to get ever closer.
This requires a process.
Often, we ignore the fact that business and IT alignment is a process. This process does not have a starting point nor does it have an end. It is a series of “learn and do” cycles that incrementally get towards alignment.