As the digital age we live in, keeps evolving and revolutionizing every aspect of our lives, these new inventions and digitization has also changed the present Business landscape. Thus, the need for Strategic IT Alignment becomes more prominent than ever. In the unlikely event that you have never stumbled upon this concept, linking your IT strategy to your business strategy ensures your IT investments are aligned with your organization’s vision. Furthermore, it informs your business decision-making for the purpose of accomplishing financial objectives. Thus, the alignment is ingrained into the system, benefiting the business in numerous ways, such as increasing revenue, improving customer experience, reducing operational costs, optimizing system effectivity, etc.
But aside from the obvious improvements, a proper Strategic IT alignment has become a sheer necessity for startups and SMEs. To have a more thorough understanding of its importance and contribution to the field, we have consulted Haroon Rashid, Head of PMO at Ufone Telecom and IT development and digitalization expert. In addition to his experience in planning and successfully preparing IT strategy alignment for a great number of enterprises, Rashid has also widely engaged with financial digitalization and infrastructures.
As such, Rashid warns against Strategic misalignment, as it may “increase the risk for suboptimal use of organizational resources, possibly resulting in increased costs, losses of revenue and so on.” Thus, when it comes to startups and SMEs, whose funds and resources are usually more limited, this alignment should become a top priority. In fact, studies have shown that some of the principal reasons startups’ and SMEs’ fail, are due to lacking funds, wrong financial management and an inability to keep adapt and implement customer feedback and needs.
How Investing in IT Can Generate More Revenue
Increasing revenue should, therefore, be one of the key concerns for these new and uprising companies. These, according to Rashid, can be achieved in several ways; by appealing and expanding their customer reach, by boosting the average of their transaction size and frequency per customer. These can all be accomplished through the use of digital marketing and AI-based customer profiling, which are just one of the many features IT alignment has to offer for businesses.
Implementing smart technological systems and solutions may assist business not only in creating more efficient processes within the company, but also adequately cater to their customers. Being able to offer customers a service or product that is most suitable for their needs creates satisfied customers that are also more likely to become returning customers. Furthermore, IT alignment can improve every analytical tool your startup uses to increase and optimize services offered to the customer. Last but not least, these systems often create more smooth and seamless processes that save both time and money for your new business.
Digitalization; Costs and Benefits
When an initiative or startup chooses to begin a digitalization transformation they are often concerned with the cost, and the overall impact this choice would have on their business. This is often where Rashid’s expertise comes in. Having managed multiple projects concerning anything from data monetization through DWH, regulatory compliance, to operational cloud program, Rashid has a lot to contribute when it comes to companies’ digital transformations. “Businesses typically see this transformation as an essential cost they must bear,” he says, instead, they should see it as an “enablement of new future business opportunities and growth”.
Moreover, Rashid shares with us his view on the role IT will and should have in the future of businesses, as well as its influence on the overall societal mindset, behavior and business models. “Digital transformation is not only about introducing new technology, but it is a journey of cultural change in which businesses and IT have to work hand in hand to reduce costs and improve ROI of all digital investments.” Thus, such digital investments, especially those performed through a strategic IT alignment, can clearly return the capital invested in them by both increasing revenue and effectively decreasing costs. Rashid adds that by having a structured and properly defined business model (achieved through the implementation of digitized systems), businesses can “closely monitor the value of existing investments and new opportunities in a rapidly changing world”.
It would seem that the digital transformation is not only inevitable, but it is also already happening. By implementing a strategic IT alignment, your business has an increasingly improved standing chance in saturated and shifting markets. But more importantly, by doing so, your business would be taking part in a bigger cultural transformation. Or as Rashid puts it, you would be actively “driving change, advocating it and raising knowledge,” thus, differentiating your startup or SME from others.