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IT governance practices make a difference

In his dissertation Kari Hiekkanen from Aalto University explores the extent to which strategic alignment is impacted by IT governance practices.

The relationship between business and IT has been a persistent topic of discussion both in academia and among practitioners in the past decades. The alignment of business and IT, or strategic alignment, is viewed as an important factor and driver of business value of IT. While the importance of alignment is acknowledged, organizations continue to struggle in achieving it. IT governance has been identified as one of the key factors in achieving strategic alignment. In order to effectively apply IT governance practices, it is important to understand the relationship and impact of IT governance on strategic alignment.

In his dissertation Kari Hiekkanen from Aalto University explores the extent to which strategic alignment is impacted by IT governance practices. Hiekkanen’s research suggests that IT governance practices have a significant contribution to strategic alignment on operational and tactical level. On strategic level, however, the findings suggest that the implementation of IT governance practices is dependent on how strategic IT is seen in the organization.

Kari Hiekkanen offers a new construct, a set of eight key IT governance practices found to have a positive impact on strategic alignment. These practices include e.g. project and portfolio management, IT project steering committee, and the role of CIO in the organizational hierarchy.

 - IT governance should be seen also as a value adding activity contributing to business value of IT, not just mandatory framework focused to cost containment and risk management. Without understanding the multifaceted, cross-organizational nature of many IT capabilities, there is a risk that IT is more focused on management of IT assets and resources instead of capability building, says Hiekkanen.

Kari Hiekkanen defended his dissertation Exploring the relationship between IT Governance and Strategic Alignment on 8 June, 2016.

Kari Hiekkanen’s research contributes to the Digital Disruption of Industry – research project that studies the impacts of digitalization to the Finnish society through the lens of the industry.

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