The alignment between business and IT has three dimensions.
From an operational viewpoint, IT needs to implement the processes and interfaces that business people need. Often the IT systems are inflexible, with hard coded processes and information. They resist change and hinder the business effort to deliver the service/product in time and quality.
Systems cost a lot to maintain only and IT expertise is dear. Often because systems are designed in isolation, for a large number of customers, they are too complex to master, have overlapping functionality and do not integrate well with other systems in terms of processes and information exchange. How do business and IT people make business processes work well, end to end on such weakly integrated systems? EA is a potential solution.
From a strategic point of view, IT has to align its capabilities and strategy to implement the business roadmap. As such, the IT systems have to evolve in line with the business plans. But sometimes this happens the other way around. And this is the strategic alignment issue.
Partly, the alignment problem is caused by the IT systems state of art. They have not been designed with an overall Enterprise view in mind, from the beginning.
An Enterprise Architecture is, amongst other, a late attempt to fix business and IT alignment issues caused by a lack of an overall Enterprise Architectural view in the design phase of each Enterprise system. Frameworks like NGOSS of TM forum attempt to remedy this. And SOA makes things easier.
One has also to align people responsibilities. A separate large IT department that serves the Enterprise is too slow to respond to business needs. It has a life of its own. Segregated to/in IT business units, it responds better and faster but costs more due to duplication.
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