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It - Business Aligment in World Bank

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IT Alignment in World Bank




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6. References.................................................13

IT Alignment in World Bank

1. Synopsis

The paper analyzes the case for World Bank and scrutinizes Business IT alignment at the World Bank (breadth). Various models are used throughout this report in order to properly assess the role of the IT in the World Bank based on the existing case study.

2. Introduction

The following paper starts by analyzing the case study for the World Bank and scrutinizes Business IT alignment at this organization. The World Bank in order to become closer to the clients wanted to develop a new sophisticated model of IT and business integration to benefit the clients and reduce the overhead. The paper will explore how IT can be better mingled with the business strategy to improve the effectiveness of the World Bank.

3. Aim

The aim of the World Bank's was to initiate some major fundamental shifts in order to benefit the organization. Please refer to the two major shifts that the bank wanted to create for its IT missions:

3.1 Decentralization. IT/IS could allow the bank to decentralize its staff in more than 100 countries of operation and still manage to effectively carry out its policies, mission and objectives.

3.2 Creation of a knowledge bank. This knowledge bank is supposed to improve cooperation between different stakeholders of the bank, improve knowledge sharing within organization. It is vital for effective development and successful implementation of various projects.

These two aims appear to be conflicting and contradictory because at first it might sound like decentralizing organization cannot contribute to better knowledge sharing and collaboration. Still the aim was relevant and pending because various members of the World Bank certainly needed to improve cooperation at all levels. Currently the World Bank is represented by the following:

* International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

* International Development Association (IDA).

* The International Finance Corporation (IFC).

* The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

* And the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).


Together these members work on the same goals and objectives, yet because the mission statement of the World Bank is humanitarian and people-oriented (as opposed to profit-oriented) and because the World Bank is financed by more than 180 countries the need for improved coordination and cooperation are apparent. Currently, this bank simultaneously works on hundreds of projects in about 100 countries. The projects are mostly humanitarian aimed to reduce poverty, to fight AIDS, and unemployment.

4. Reading Overview

Figure 1-The Strategic Alignment Model

Henderson & Venkatraman in the paper showed the influence of the IT on the competitive advantage of the organization by linking it to the business strategy as shown in figure 1. The IT Alignment model represents a good framework for comparing, and analyzing different IT department's goals and objective as well as goals and objectives of a particular organization. From the diagram in Henderson & Venkatraman one can clearly see that the World Bank might benefit from the IT Alignment model by understanding that:

a. The IT strategy is separated from the IT infrastructure that further contributes to decentralization.

b. The strategic alignment can take different forms, from cross-domain alignment to matrix alignment.

Henderson & Venkatraman notes that the following main questions should be assessed before implementing the strategy:

1. Business scope, i.e. the services proposed by the World Bank.

2. Distinctive competencies, i.e. the unique attributes that the World Bank presents to its distinct customers (Montana 2005).

3. Business governance, i.e. the current organizational controls and the expected future controls (Robbins 2003).

Currently, the World Bank focused on the matrix organization based on the Networks and Regions to cover distinct regions in which the World Bank Operates and to show the intersection of the infrastructure sector and regions.

Speaking about the Organizational infrastructure and processes, Henderson & Venkatraman focus on the following aspects:

1. Administrative infrastructure: including organizational structure of the World Bank, its roles, and reporting relationships. The World Bank wants to alter these very structures in order to decentralize it and make it more effective, cost-efficient and capable.

2. Processes that determine the work flows at the World Bank and its activities. From the case study and associated literature we learn that the World Bank does not want to alter its goals and objectives yet it wants to change the routines and procedures to improve the effectiveness.

3. Skills or the assessment of the competencies and abilities of the key players at the World Bank. The World Bank further wants to improve the skills of its personnel and its key players to effective initiate changes in administrative infrastructure and processes.

Speaking about the Information technology strategy Henderson & Venkatraman note that the IT strategy is relatively new and not understood properly because of various definitions and assumptions it relies on. Just like the Business strategy the IT strategy concentrates on the following aspects as one learns from Henderson & Venkatraman.

1. IT scope: the types and range of IT systems



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