The development of a framework to achieve alignment between information technology (IT) and business objectives while adhering to it governance principles

Patterson, Marí (2017-03)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Information technology (IT) is developing at an accelerated rate, making it virtually impossible to separate business and IT strategy. The rate, scope and impact of recent technological advances has led to the fourth industrial revolution which is characterised by the exponential rate of technological developments, its global impact on most industries, and its significant influence on how companies are doing business today. In order to gain and maintain a competitive advantage, companies are forced to stay abreast with new information technology and its impact on not only their own companies, but also their competitors and the industry in which they operate. Due to pervasive implementation, IT can no longer be viewed in isolation. The IT strategy of a company has to be integrated with its overall business strategy in order for IT to add value to a company. It is important that both senior management and IT specialists be engaged in the design, implementation and revision of IT solutions in order for IT to assist in meeting strategic objectives while maintaining a competitive advantage. Miscommunication between business and IT managers is a major contributing factor to IT projects failing to deliver the desired value. This concept is known as the IT gap. Many companies currently follow an unstructured approach towards the implementation of IT solutions due to the IT gap. The purpose of this study is to develop a tool that can be used by companies to bridge the IT gap by aligning business and IT objectives. The author proposes the development of a framework which can be used by companies to achieve alignment between their IT and business objectives while adhering to IT governance principles. A hypothesis exists that alignment between IT and business objectives can be achieved by defining the key driving forces of a company, known as business imperatives, and designing the IT architecture with the objective of supporting these business imperatives. By validating a list of business imperatives commonly found in companies, the findings of this research validates the aforementioned hypothesis and concludes that business imperatives act as the drivers of a company and should be used as the basis to bridge the IT gap. This has resulted in a framework which provides practical guidance to senior managers of a company to both identify the business imperatives relevant to the company, and assist IT specialists when designing and implementing IT architecture to support these business imperatives. The framework consists of three elements, representing the process necessary for the achievement of strategic alignment between business and IT. Firstly, a list of validated business imperatives are provided, which can be used by senior managers to identify the key driving forces relevant to the company. Secondly, the framework contains the business requirements needed to give effect to these business imperatives and lastly, the potential impact of these business requirements on the IT architecture of a company is discussed. This framework can be used to improve communication between senior managers of the business and IT specialists. This improved communication will ensure alignment between strategic objectives and IT strategy, resulting in the elimination of the IT gap.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Inligtingstegnologie (IT) ontwikkel teen ʼn versnelde tempo en dit raak bykans onmoontlik om besigheids- en IT strategieë van mekaar te skei. Die pas, omvang en impak van onlangse tegnologiese ontwikkelings het tot die vierde industriële revolusie gelei. Hierdie revolusie word gekenmerk deur die eksponensiële tempo waarteen tegnologie ontwikkel, die internasionale impak van hierdie ontwikkelings op bykans alle industrieë en die omvangryke invloed daarvan op die wyse waarop maatskappye besigheid doen. Maatskappye word genoodsaak om op hoogte te bly van nuwe inligtingstegnologie en die impak daarvan op hul eie maatskappy, hul mededingers en die industrie waarin die maatskappy werksaam is, om sodoende ʼn mededingende voordeel te handhaaf. As gevolg van die omvattende implementering van IT in maatskappye kan dit nie in isolasie beskou word nie. Die IT strategie van ʼn maatskappy moet met die maatskappy se oorhoofse besigheidstrategie geïntegreer word alvorens IT waarde tot die maatskappy sal toevoeg. Dit is belangrik dat beide senior bestuur van ʼn maatskappy en IT spesialiste by die ontwerp, implementering en hersiening van IT-oplossings betrokke moet wees ten einde die bereiking van strategiese doelwitte te ondersteun en ʼn mededingende voordeel te behou. Miskommunikasie tussen besigheids- en IT bestuurders is ʼn groot rede waarom IT projekte nie die verlangde waarde toevoeg nie. Hierdie verskynsel staan as die IT gaping bekend. Baie maatskappye volg tans weens die IT gaping ʼn ongestruktureerde benadering tot die implementering van IT-oplossings. Hierdie studie het ten doel om ʼn hulpmiddel te ontwikkel wat deur maatskappye gebruik kan word om die IT gaping te oorbrug deur die belyning van besigheidsdoelwitte met IT doelwitte te verseker. Die skrywer is van voorneme om ʼn raamwerk te ontwikkel wat deur maatskappye gebruik kan word om belyning tussen hul besigheids- en IT doelwitte te verseker en terselfdertyd aan IT beheer beginsels te voldoen. Daar bestaan ʼn hipotese dat die belyning tussen IT- en besigheidsdoelwitte bereik kan word deur die sleutel dryfkragte, genaamd besigheidsimperatiewe, van ʼn maatskappy te definieer en die IT argitektuur van ʼn maatskappy sodanig te ontwerp dat dit die relevante besigheidsimperatiewe ondersteun. Die bevindinge van hierdie navorsing bevestig hierdie hipotese deur ʼn lys besigheidsimperatiewe, wat dikwels in maatskappye voorkom, te bevestig en kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat besigheidsimperatiewe wel as die dryfkragte van ʼn maatskappy dien en gebruik behoort te word as die basis om die IT gaping te elimineer. Dit het gelei tot die ontwikkeling van ʼn raamwerk wat praktiese leiding aan senior bestuur van ʼn maatskappy rakende die identifikasie van besigheidsimperatiewe relevant tot die betrokke maatskappy verskaf, asook bystand aan IT spesialiste verleen om IT argitektuur, wat die besigheidsimperatiewe van ʼn maatskappy ondersteun, te ontwerp en te implementeer. Die raamwerk bestaan uit drie elemente wat verteenwoordigend is van die proses wat gevolg behoort te word om strategiese belyning tussen besigheid en IT te bewerkstellig. In die eerste plek word ʼn lys bevestigde besigheidsimperatiewe verskaf, wat deur senior bestuur gebruik kan word om die sleutel dryfkragte relevant tot die maatskappy te identifiseer. In die tweede plek bevat die raamwerk, die besigheidsvereistes wat benodig word om uitvoering te gee aan die besigheidsimperatiewe en laastens word die moontlike impak van hierdie besigheidsvereistes op die IT argitektuur van ʼn maatskappy beskryf. Hierdie raamwerk kan gebruik word om kommunikasie tussen die senior bestuurders en IT spesialiste van ʼn maatskappy te verbeter. Meer doeltreffende kommunikasie sal die belyning tussen die strategiese doelwitte en die IT strategie van ʼn maatskappy verseker, wat tot die eliminasie van die IT gaping sal lei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101454
This item appears in the following collections: