Strategic alignment maturity addresses the ability of organizations to adapt their IT and business strategies in a harmonious fashion. This alignment evolves into a relationship where the function of IT and other business functions adapt their strategies together. Early research on the topic has shown that organizations that show a high level of alignment maturity seem to be more capable of executing strategy as critical enablers of strategic alignment such as effective partnerships, communications, and governance manifest themselves through business-IT relationships and practices. This alignment of IT strategy and the organization’s business strategy is a fundamental principle that has been advocated for over a decade.
Within the strategic alignment maturity model, there are five conceptual levels;
1. Initial/Ad Hoc Process: Business and IT not aligned or harmonized
2. Committed Process: The organization has committed to becoming aligned
3. Established Focused Process: Strategic Alignment Maturity established and focused on business objectives
4. Improved/Managed Process: Reinforcing the concept of IT as a “Value Center”
5. Optimized Process: Integrated and co-adaptive business and IT strategic planning
As the business grows and increases the harmony between the IT strategy and business strategy, it climbs the conceptual levels of the model. As the level in the strategic alignment model rises, the alignment and convergence with the IT and business becomes more optimized. The alignment model suggests that IT strategies should both derive from and shape business strategies in a dynamic environment.
In order to decide which of the levels the organization fits into, there are levels of criteria to aid in the evaluation. The six criteria that make up the evaluation process are;
1. Communications Maturity: Ensuring ongoing knowledge sharing across organizations
2. Competency/Value Measurement Maturity: Demonstrating the value of IT in terms of contribution to the business
3. Governance Maturity: Ensuring that the appropriate business and IT participants formally discuss and review the priorities and allocation of IT resources.
4. Partnership Maturity: How each organization perceives the contribution of the other; the trust that develops among the participants and the sharing of risks and rewards
5. Scope and Architecture Maturity: The extent to which IT is able to:
- Go beyond the back office and into the front office of the organization
- Assume a role supporting a flexible infrastructure that is transparent to all business partners and customers
- Evaluate and apply emerging technologies effectively
- Enable or drive business processes and strategies as a true standard
- Provide solutions customizable to customer needs
6. Skills Maturity: Going beyond the traditional considerations such as training, salary, performance, feedback, and career opportunities are factors that enhance the organization’s cultural and...