The Alignment of IT Strategic Planning with the Corporate Strategy Case Study: Dubai Customs

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
In this information age, no organization can thrive without harnessing the power of IT. The effective deployment of IT to achieve business goals and gain competitive advantage requires the alignment of business and IT Strategies of organizations. Using the Strategic Alignment Maturity Model, the dissertation evaluates strategic alignment maturity of Dubai Customs, a frontline public organization charged with trade facilitation in Dubai. Strategic business and IT alignment assessment is growing in importance. Different assessment methods have been used to try to pursue the complexity of this dynamic and evolutionary alignment. Despite the fact that alignment is a real problem and a challenge of utmost importance, no consensus can be found on what alignment really is, how it should be measured in organization in practice, and what measures should be taken into account. In this dissertation, three main questions were formulated; how is the IT Strategy aligned with the corporate strategy in Dubai Customs; what are the dominant areas which are used to align strategy; to find whether the alignment process is bi-directional between project management and business strategy; and lastly whether the projects are able to cope the rapidly changing business environment. As part of the research process extensive analysis of the current projects at Dubai Customs were conducted, understanding the scope of each project, their delivery timelines, conducting workshops to map the business strategy with each of the project. In addition to this interviews were conducted to perform qualitative analysis of the IT strategy alignment with the business. A quantitative analysis was also conducted to further confirm the results of the interviews with the survey questions. This research work aims to improve the decision making process at Dubai Customs for business and IT managers at different levels of the organization by means of increasing the level of understanding of the IT Projects, mapping each project to the Business Strategic Goals. So that periodically the IT Strategic Alignment with the Corporate Strategy can be measured and business decisions are taken accordingly. In addition to the above, this work will also help increase 4 the knowledge of IT Strategy Alignment, as well as enhance existing models and methods in practice at Dubai Customs, for evaluating strategic business and IT alignment. As a result of this study we applied the Luftman Strategic Alignment Maturity Model and found that strategic alignment at Dubai Customs is an established process, which is good communication between business and IT, some cost effectiveness defined, relevant processes exist in the organization and IT is seen as an asset driver. But there is still from improvement whereby communication, governance and partnership need to be improved. Once this is achieved in the future years, Dubai Customs will be able to attain, whereby bonding between business and IT is improved, dashboards are managed periodically, governance is managed across the organization and IT enables the Business Strategy smoothly. The last step is to work towards the Optimized Level, where the communication becomes informal and pervasive, value measurement is extended to partners, governance is integrated across the organization, partnership is co-adaptive between departments and architecture evolves with the partners.
IT strategic planning, corporate strategy, Dubai customs, competitive advantage, strategic alignment, project management, business strategy, decision making