Why Aligning IT with Business Matters

by Anish Mistry

You are driving to a meeting and in front of you is a large pot hole. "Thump" as your wheels hit the hole. As you near your destination, you start to notice a small vibration, your steering is out of alignment. Knowing that the week is busy you put off taking in the car. As the weeks pass, the vibration is still there and slowly becomes more pronounced, but you ignore it since you can "just deal" with the problem. After several months you finally take it in for an alignment. To your surprise the mechanic says he can do the alignment, but it's not going to help. The problem was ignored so long the tires have now worn unevenly and need to be replaced. That $100 problem has become a $500 problem.

Business owners and executives constantly seem to take this the "just deal" mentality when it comes to IT. What many of them fail to realize or quantify, is the large cost of using unaligned IT systems and infrastructure to run the business. Some simple logical estimates can allow you to put numbers to the effects of those bumps and vibrations. Once you have that information you can make an informed decision on whether to put off the problem or address it. This happens constantly when it comes to systems used in critical areas of the business. A typical performance indicator for a sales staff is "talk time" or "face time" with potential clients. If your sales staff is spending 45 minutes a day doing data entry into your CRM database, that is time that isn't aligned with our indicator. This vibration may seem small, but if the end goal is to increase sales, how much would being able to cut off 15 minutes per day be worth. For a staff of 3 that would be:

15 minutes * 250 working days per year * 3 employees = 187.5 hours

That is over 1 month of time. How much is 1 month of pay for your sales team? With that much recovered time, how many more sales will your team close? If you do the math, you'll probably see at a small expense in updating or customizing your CRM database for these 15 minutes will help you grow your top-line without increasing labor costs. Remove those vibrations by thinking critically about how your KPIs are aligning with your IT services. This pays off on the top and bottom line.