Aligning IT with business strategy is nothing new, but case studies are rife with organisations which have struggled to use IT to achieve business objectives due to differences in departmental goals and culture, or a mutual ignorance of each other's methods resulting in ineffectual products and systems which fail to provide an effective return on investment.
A perpetual concern for CIOs from hospitals to drinks manufacturers, here are 14 business and technology leaders on using IT to underpin the strategy of the business:
"We have about 70 technicians participating in a 'back to the floor' exercise. They work on the ward for at least one day each year so they can see the challenges our other departments face. It's important for our IT technicians to understand how vital their services are, what it actually means for a clinician when a printer or PC goes down. Unless you've experienced that, you really don't know."
Tracey Scotter, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals ICT Chief
"I see my main role linking IT and business strategy.
"An enthusiastic and energized cross-functional team illuminated several new business opportunities that are moving into production, all based on analysing the connected vehicle dataset."
Marcy Klevorn, Ford CIO
"Moving from the backroom to the boardroom is placing Intel IT at the heart of business success.
"In order to accelerate growth, trust by our business partners is essential and is earned through ongoing operational excellence in the backroom. Aligning to the goals of the business, Intel IT creates strategic investment plans that are achieving desired business results and revealing new opportunities to increase business value.
"Looking ahead, I see extraordinary opportunities for IT leaders in every industry to contribute their unique point of view, in the backroom and the boardroom."
Kim Stevenson, Intel CIO
"The challenge for this sector is ensuring that the IT teams are aligned to the plans of management, so IT will need to make sure it is aligned to the projects and business goals.
"You need to be clear on what the strategy is, be open to challenges, and ultimately help people to understand what the business is and how to achieve it."
Kevin Connell, Southern Housing Group CIO
"In the past, we used to run good, old-fashioned governance meetings. Now we've actually turned that on its head: We go to our operating businesses and utilise their meeting structure and their collaboration forums to understand what it is that they're doing. So instead of a technically-led environment, it becomes a business-led environment.
"The other thing we do is to actually understand our operating businesses. So instead of having a developer, infrastructure engineer or service-desk person work in almost complete isolation, as we did in the past, now we invite them to work with the operating businesses. That way, they can understand what languages the businesses utilise and what their problems are."
Steve Townsend, Transport for London CIO
"I was blown away by the concept of Value Chain Mapping to enable IT and business colleagues to starting speaking the same language. I was keen to explore value chain mapping as a part of 'Tech Reboot' activities to try and break down the language barrier between IT and the business. This mean we could do something as an organisation that we know would be imperfect but a hell of a lot better than banging on about Enterprise Architecture showcasing lengthy spreadsheets. As a result the organisation understood for the first time how many IT systems it operates, how they hung together and started to map out how things could look in the future."
Rachel Murphy-Cooper, Nursing and Midwifery Council CTO
"The business didn't have a CIO before, so I have been the first person to articulate a role for IT in the business. IT has become much more aligned to the business and we have been successful in delivery. It is perfect for me as it was an opportunity to mould a strategy. It has felt like ploughing a field that has not been ploughed before.
"I hold regular meetings with company professionals throughout the business and around the globe to stay current with business developments and opportunities. I organise my direct reports to have dotted reporting lines into each of the divisional leadership teams within the business, and I personally accompany sales staff on customer visits to gain greater customer insight and search for new opportunities to apply IT technology."
Keith Hopkinson, Genus CIO
"By aligning our strategy to that of the business – taking a customer-centric approach, we are taking a leadership role in driving significant transformation across the company.
"We are often in a unique position to view and deliver change across the business and this has helped to enhance our relationship with the business, cementing our role as invaluable business partners."
Brian Franz, Diaego CIO
"We've had to have a DNA change in IT, so we've brought in people who are as brilliant at communicating as they are at technology. We've gone from the department of NO, to being completely engaged with the National Trust cause. The organisation is heavily devolved, so IT and finance can become disenfranchised.
"I've also introduced mandatory work experience. Nobody can work in our team unless they spend time working away from our headquarters – so we have a blog where people post their pictures and experiences of working in different properties."
Sarah Flannigan, National Trust CIO
"Embedding IT staff will ensure they are exposed to the challenges, issues and opportunities of the relevant function on a daily basis. Embedded resources can adapt their ways of working to suit the style and preferences of the function they support. As well as creating a more satisfying experience for the relevant functions, it also makes the process of capturing and translating business needs into solutions more effective, and is more likely to produce outcomes that meet the business requirements at the first attempt."
Ian Cox, author, board advisor and CIO UK columnist
"A lot of my role is looking at what technology is available and how they might be used and to inspire the institution. It is exciting looking at how we can use technology to help teaching and collaboration."
Carolyn Brown, CIO Durham University
"To facilitate the rate of change in the business and the servicing of our customers, the IT and Business Change functions underwent a Target Operating Model (TOM) review, which ultimately saw the department being restructured. Managers have been hired to lead the functional areas of Business Change, Solution Design, Development, Quality Assurance and Operations, the alterations have produced a step change in quality, with a significant amount of process re-engineering work being undertaken."
Richard Norris, Reliance Mutual CIO
"IT needs to be very much embedded in the thinking of senior professionals in that organisation if they are going to ensure a better alignment of IT investment with business outcomes and business objectives.
"It has to be very much a two-way street; this is not just about IT being more responsive and able to understand the needs of the business - that sort of thing goes without saying.
"It's also about ensuring that the way in which risks and opportunities around technology are better managed in the business, so there will be areas where you won't want to invest in certain new technologies or new ways of doing things overall because it would be corporately undesirable to that that due to high risks, costs, or indeed the fragmentation of data sets."
Jos Creese, BCS President and former CIO and CDO
"CIOs have a specific responsibility to maintain a continuous alignment between the business and IT."
Alain Benoist, Societe Generale IT Chief