Since the 1990s, business-IT alignment has been considered the appropriate organizational frame for business and IT strategies. Thereafter, with the rising importance of innovative digital technologies for performance and competitiveness, the concept of digital business strategies (DBS) emerged. The fusion of business and IT strategies is presumed to account for the inevitable transformations that digital technologies triggered. This paradigmatic shift poses new challenges to practitioners and researchers, as current assumptions regarding strategizing processes need to be questioned. This study sets out to provide a structured clarification of the current digital business strategies knowledge base. It provides a threefold contribution by: 1) structuring the research efforts on digital business strategies, 2) uncovering knowledge gaps and 3) developing an agenda for future research.
IT/business alignment is one of the main topics of information systems research. If IT artifacts and business-related artifacts are coupled point-to-point, however, complex architectures become unmanageable over time. In computer science, concepts like the ANSI/SPARC three-level database architecture propose an architecture layer which decouples external views on data and the implementation view of data. In this paper, a similar approach for IT/business alignment is proposed. The proposed alignment architecture is populated by enterprise services as elementary artifacts. Enterprise services link software components and process activities. They are aggregated into applications and subsequently into domains for planning/design and communication purposes. Most design approaches for the construction of enterprise services, applications and domains are top-down, i. e. they decompose complex artifacts on a stepwise basis. As an alternative which takes into account coupling semantics, we propose a bottom-up approach which is demonstrated for the identification of domains. Our approach is evaluated using a telecommunications equipment case study.
IT alignment is generally considered to be an enabler of firm performance. However, the previous literature has found that IT alignment has no or even a negative effect on firm performance, suggesting an alignment paradox. This study aims to address this paradox by focusing on the examination of how agility is enhanced or reduced. We consider the boundary conditions of environmental dynamism under which the effect of IT alignment varies. We then conduct a paired-matched survey of business and IT executives in 148 organizations to empirically examine the proposed research model. Our findings suggest that environmental dynamism has a negative moderating effect on the relationship between intellectual alignment and organizational agility, but a positive moderating effect on the relationship between social alignment and organizational agility. Furthermore, we find that in dynamic environments, intellectual alignment increases organizational agility only when it is complemented by social alignment.
Eliminating the gap between business and IT within an enterprise, i.e., solving the problem of Business and IT Alignment (BITA), requires an instrument for the multidimensional analysis of an enterprise. Enterprise Modeling (EM) is a practice that supports such analysis and therefore can be used to facilitate BITA. EM serves as a tool that can capture, visualize and analyze different aspects of enterprises. This article presents a framework that describes the role of EM in the context of BITA and presents recommendations in EM for BITA.
Business IT Alignment is considered an enduring topic in academic and practitioners’ literature. The interest in the subject is justified by the link, demonstrated by several studies, between alignment and corporate performances. However, alignment research has not yet been translated into practices, theoretically demonstrated in literature and applied to companies. The interpretation of alignment as a function of independent factors and the underestimation of the complex nature of alignment process are considered key barriers in alignment achievement. The present study is based on a multi-case study analysis carried out in two companies that implemented alignment processes. We conceptualise alignment as a co-evolution process and derive four mechanisms and three types of parameters and explain their role in alignment implementation. The contribution is theoretical, since we analyse and describe mechanisms and factors that govern alignment, and for the practitioners, since knowledge of these mechanisms is precondition for an effective alignment implementation.
Dynamic business environments call for companies’ organizational agility as being able to sense the changes in competitive environments and respond accordingly. A flexible IT environment facilitates this aim but contrasts with the structuration of IT organization through IT governance. We analyze how scaling agile frameworks as blueprints for agile IT organizations solve the contrast between structuration embedded in IT governance and agility. We see converging business and IT in structure and strategy as facilitator for resolving this conflict. In detail, we compare eight scaling agile frameworks on how IT governance is covered, how IT governance decisions are made and whether business IT convergence is achieved. We conclude that IT governance is still predominantly top down decision-making and focuses on traditional business IT alignment instead of business IT convergence. With our analysis, we provide a comprehensive base for organizations to choose from when approaching their specific agility challenges.