Measuring the Linkage Between Business and Information Technology Objectives

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Abstract

The establishment of linkage between business and information technology objectives has consistently been reported as one of the key concerns of information systems (IS) managers. The two objectives of this paper are: (1) to clarify the nature of the linkage construct, and (2) to report on a project that developed and tested measures of the social dimension of linkage. According to our research, the linkage construct has two dimensions:

1. Intellectual: the content of information technology and business plans are internally consistent and externally valid.
2. Social: the IS and business executives understand each others' objectives and plans.

We conducted a study of measurement issues associated with the social dimension of linkage. The following candidate measures of linkage were examined:
1. Cross references between written business and information technology plans;
2. S and business executives' mutual understanding of each other's current objectives;
3. Congruence between IS and business executives' long-term visions for information technology deployment;
4. Executives' self-reported rating of linkage.

Data were collected from 10 business units in three large Canadian life insurance companies. In addition to examining written documents such as strategic plans and minutes of steering committee meetings, extensive interviews were conducted with information systems and business unit executives. Based on this data, understanding of current objectives and shared vision for the utilization of information technology are proposed as the most promising potential measures for short- and long-term aspects of the social dimension of linkage, respectively. With some precautions, self-reports may also be used as a surrogate measure for short-term linkage.

Additional Details

Author Blaize Horner Reich and Izak Benbasat
Year 1996
Volume 20
Issue 1
Keywords IS strategic planning, alignment of IS plans with business plans
Page Numbers 55-81