Noticed an interesting article in Computerworld regarding IT and business alignment.  Of particular note was the following quote:

"Alignment is a moving target, not a permanent condition. Moreover, the likelihood of achieving it is slim at best unless the CIO understands certain things. Here are a few of them:

Infrastructure, while essential, adds little value to the business and isn't a big opportunity for IT-business alignment. It's certainly important to have an efficient and reliable infrastructure that supports business initiatives. But when many IT leaders spend 80% of their budgets and almost 100% of their time on these activities, there's no energy left to pursue real alignment.

Functionality that doesn't differentiate your organization shouldn't be developed. A key part of IT-business alignment is for the business to be able to use IT to achieve its goals. The business can't do that if IT is off rewriting a general ledger or building a better call center system. Don't overdevelop applications. If it's merely a routine process, such as payroll or order management, use off-the-shelf systems, and get it done as quickly and cheaply as possible. "

 

In my reading of this it reminded me that alignment is so closely related to agility and that it is a lot more likely that you will remain aligned with the business if you are making lots of small real time corrections to the direction of the business.   Big projects with rigid plans don't really fit that model. 

Seems to me that we at Microsoft has a responsibility to help with the first bullet -- the infrastructure maintainance and operation needs to be easier and take less time and money.  It needs to be more predictable, more managable.