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How Leaders Can Align Their Tech Team With Their Business Strategy

In the past, organizations would formulate their business strategies, and then IT would play a supporting role. Now, technology defines business processes. Tech teams are emerging from their silos and playing an increasingly vital role in company operations.

Because tech professionals are expected to contribute innovative ideas, tech leaders need to ensure their teams are working toward the overall business goals. To help, members of Forbes Technology Council offer 12 tips for aligning your tech team’s focus with the company strategy.

1. Focus On Impact To Customers

Tech leaders must take an “outside-in” approach compared to an “inside-out” approach to align their teams to business strategy. An “outside-in” approach is based on customers becoming key drivers of organizational strategy and functions within that organization. Teams should understand the customer impact of their actions. – Kumar Parakala, GHD

2. Consider What Product Features Will Be Promoted

Creating the linkage between the work our technology development teams are doing to the features that our customers will promote on their products with our technology inside has been key for expanding the business awareness of the teams. Being able to put ourselves in our customer’s shoes has enhanced the understanding of business strategy and future growth opportunities. – Brian Crannell, Knowles Corporation

3. Have Open Conversations

You need to make your tech leaders comfortable having business discussions to help slowly shift their accountability away from tactical IT-based results to strategic, business-based results. This will help shape the conversations they have with their teams and help shift the entire department to align more effectively with the business. Without the shift in conversations, there will be a disconnect. – Brent Yax, Awecomm Technologies

4. Create a Technology Road Map

From our experience, a pragmatic technology road map helps best align and prioritize the technology team’s efforts to support the overall business strategy. Derived from a current state assessment, this map outlines the application of technology and data analytics, defines processes to support innovation and solves relevant pain points for various stakeholders. As business operations evolve, so will the people, processes and technology that work in and around them. – Clayton Nicholas, Vibronyx


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5. Be Fully Transparent

Transparency is key. Having open communication about the projects and engagements across the team leaders, engineers and tech teams creates mutual buy-in so everyone on the team has the same end goal. This helps streamline work, allows individuals to prioritize their time day to day and hour to hour and allows a sense of pride and ownership in the end result. – Jun Pei, Cepton

6. Hold Regular Meetings With Executives

Listen more than you talk and build relationships. If feasible, try to schedule regular meetings with executives to understand their projects and priorities. Ideally, IT initiatives should be rooted in these conversations and clearly show how you can enable the business leaders to achieve their goals. Overall, showing compassion and sincere interest in the common good helps build closer relationships. – Ilia Sotnikov, Netwrix

7. Set Objectives And Quarterly Goals

To support business strategy, tech leaders should have objectives to achieve, which should be broken into quarterly goals and cascaded throughout the organization. Each employee should give weekly updates on if they expect to achieve their portion of the objective. Done right, the entire department sees how their work supports the overall strategy, knows the priorities and recognizes interdependencies. – Carolyn Jenkins, EPSoft Technologies

8. Strengthen Tech Representation In Boards

Integrating technology across all corners of the business is critical to achieving innovation. To align on company-wide strategies and bridge gaps from vision to execution, leaders should strengthen technology representation among boards and the C-Suite to drive transformation at scale and foster an organization-wide culture of innovation and experimentation with emerging technologies. – Jeff Wong, EY

9. Have Tech Members Help With Operations

Use a rotational schedule, based on availability, to assign tech members to business for a week or perhaps a month. This will allow tech teams to understand the business side of things, the daily operations, the language they use and the challenges they face. It will also give the opportunity to the business people to understand the tech side of things and communicate more effectively the use cases and their needs. – Spiros Liolis, Micro Focus

10. Encourage Use Of Low- And No-Code Tools

Bringing together business and IT is easier now than it ever has been, especially with low- and no-code solutions. Business units can take a hands-on approach with these easy to use tools, which has the added benefit of expanding an organization’s IT capacity, all while creating solutions that are more closely tied to the business use. – Andreas Sulejewski, Neptune Software

11. Utilize New Tech To Solve Business Problems

Find ways to use new technology to solve a business problem. Find an inefficiency and use low-code tools to improve it. Take a business problem that the company has lots of data on and apply machine learning to it. You solve the business problems while keeping the tech team happy and motivated. – David Moise, Decide Consulting

12. Interact With Business Leaders And Managers

Here’s one tip: Get out of your office. Tech leaders should be interacting regularly with business leaders and the line of business managers. Understanding the business strategy and how that strategy is being executed on the front lines are critical inputs for creating alignment between the tech team and the business. Otherwise, you’re just managing with hearsay and best guesses. This would be considered “#FieldCommander.” – Kevin Lynch, Optiv

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