Strategic Business and IT Alignment : Addressing Assessment and Governance
Abstract: Strategic business and IT alignment assessment is growing in importance. Different assessment methods have been used to try to pursue the complexity of this dynamic and evolutionary alignment. Despite the fact that alignment is a real problem and a challenge of utmost importance, no consensus can be found on what alignment really is, how it should be measured in the organization in practice, or what measures should be taken to maintain and improve it. Consequently, the key question about how to assess and accomplish (define, identify, measure, maintain and improve) the strategic business and IT alignment is still a great unanswered challenge for many enterprises.In this thesis work, three main research questions were formulated: how can the validity and reliability of an alignment assessment method be improved, what are the dominant topics in the area of alignment, and how to facilitate the analysis of the business and IT governance alignment based on business process simulation and balanced scorecard methods.This is a composite thesis work that includes an introduction and six papers (paper A-F). The main contributions and results of this thesis are described in published and included technical papers. In papers A and B an alternative organization-wide approach and metamodel for assessing strategic business and IT alignment are proposed. Two case studies were performed applying the proposed approach. In paper C, a prioritized diagram of the most widely accepted strategic alignment model, with the purpose of categorizing the most important topics in the research area of strategic business and IT alignment is presented. One of the relevant topics that were identified is governance. In papers D, E and F, there are presented a business process simulation approach and a balanced scorecard method in order to facilitate the assessment of the business and IT governance alignment. An illustrative example of the simulation approach is presented in an appendix of this thesis.This research work aims to improve the decision-making process for business and IT managers at different levels in an enterprise by means of increasing the level of understanding and knowledge as well as by enhancing existing models and methods, for evaluating strategic business and IT alignment.
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