MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Can IT Be Too in Sync With Business Strategy?

  • 5m
  • Huigang Liang, Nianxin Wang, Sam Ransbotham, Shilun Ge, Yajiong Xue
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2018

Tight alignment of a company’s IT systems with its current strategy can hamper agility in fast-moving markets — unless the right social conditions are in place.

For years, as the company focused on diversifying and creating new product lines, it left IT decisions largely up to the managers of its subsidiaries so they could respond nimbly to customer needs. But after the downturn, Qianwei’s top executives realized they needed to cut costs, and the company’s former distributed approach to IT “proved to be a huge obstacle,” said Zhang Jin, former CEO of Qianwei Group. It was well-aligned with the former strategy but created an obstacle of its own — it seemed to rob Qianwei of its agility.

Qianwei’s top executives thus found themselves confronting a frustrating dilemma: They had achieved the kind of IT-business alignment once considered a gold standard, but they had sacrificed something unexpected in the process.

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  • Can IT Be Too in Sync with Business Strategy?