As I rapidly approach the 30 year point of holding progressively advanced IT roles, I have to reflect on the changes that have taken place during these years.  These changes are not only in the way we define technology or the way we use technology, but more significantly in the way we view business.  At the risk of sounding as old as my driver’s license states, I have to admit that some of the old adages now ring true – everything old becomes new again.

 When I started my business career, it wasn’t in IT – I started in bank management.  Technology at that time consisted of manual and electronic adding machines and typewriters.  I remember the excitement when the bank moved to automated posting terminals for tellers, and everyone had to learn to enter on keyboards rather than manually process stacks of cash, cheques and adding machine tapes.  It wasn’t easy for many of the tellers who had spent decades handling paper, but the inherent value of automating the transactions to provide faster information and to reduce errors was recognized.  The business value of introducing the technology was a strong driver for change and ensured that the role of technology was positioned appropriately for all staff.  Discussing alignment of business and technology was not necessary: technology existed to support business priorities.  My ’30 years in IT’ started after this experience.  Like so many in the late 70s, the fascination with technology lead me away from the safe world of business into the new world of ‘DP’ – data processing, the parent of ‘IT’ – information technology. 

 When I look back over the past 30 years and then forward into the near future, I see a business environment that looks very different from where I started, but is perhaps more closely aligned than ever before.  Business is coming out of its infatuation with all things technological and has embraced technology as a normal business tool to be used strategically to accomplish business objectives.  Alignment is properly positioned to ensure that technology activities, decisions and services exist as a result of, and in support of, business activities.  Helping organizations through this transition to emerge fully capable requires more than good business planning or good technology management.  Organizations need a new approach that combines strategic planning, business process reviews, organizational management and information management with a capable, integrated technology infrastructure and service environment.  We are on the verge of a new era where business and technology are synchronized in their goals, objectives and direction – true Business/IT Alignment.

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