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IT Risk as a Language for Alignment

George Westerman


This article argues that the language of risk is a powerful tool for improving IT/business alignment. Incorporating risk into IT management conversations helps both business and IT executives make better decisions about how they balance the needs for strategic change and operational resilience. Based on five years of research with IT and business executives, we describe a hierarchical framework of four broad dimensions of IT risk (availability, access, accuracy, and agility). The framework provides a common language for discussing strategic and operational objectives, as well as a foundation for shared understanding about how IT should be implemented and managed. The article provides four guidelines for using the language of risk to improve alignment and IT value.

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The mission of MISQE is to encourage practice-based research in information systems and to disseminate the results of that research in a manner that makes its relevance and utility readily apparent.
ISSN 1540-1960