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What is Strategic Information Systems (IS) Alignment?

By Dr. Etido Oliver Akpan

Strategic information systems (IS) alignment is the degree to which the mission, goals, and objectives of information systems bolster and are bolstered by the mission, goals, and objectives of the business.

It is the degree to which organizational strategies are facilitated, enhanced, and fostered by information technology strategies. It simply refers to the fit between organizational and IS strategies. Strategic alignment appertains to the integration of information systems with business key strategies and core capabilities.

Strategic alignment calls for a purposeful selection of information technology resource expenditures to optimally facilitate business goals and processes. This suggest knowledge of business objectives and strategies on the part of the ones making the resource decisions, and a planning method that identifies information technology investment opportunities within the organization.

Previous studies on strategic information systems emphasized the alignment of information systems strategy to organizational strategy without the acknowledgement of IS strategy's impact on business strategy. Nevertheless, the strategic capability of information systems culminates in the realization that IS strategy equally impacts business strategy.

There should be establishment of IT and business strategic agreement as a major component of organizational strategic planning as this "will ensure that there is a focus on strategic achievement, not just organizational achievement."

Strategic alignment should integrate every function and process of an enterprise for the achievement of a shared business goal. This means that the alignment should not only be an integral process, but it should also include the market place and suppliers.

The strategy of information systems has many dimensions that comprise the IS function, the IS sourcing agreement, and the IS framework. The IS function demonstrates the manner by which information systems (IS) and/or information technology (IT) is perceived by top management.

For example, the function of IS/IT could be differentiation or cost reduction--information systems sourcing deals with in-house/outside structure that allows IS products and services to be procured. The IS framework communicates the IS role's configuration and the point of accountability for information systems management policies.

An excerpt from the book:

Strategic Alignment
The Business Imperative For Leading Organizations
by Dr. Etido Oliver Akpan

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