Tony Batalla is one of the many high-caliber IT Executives who will be facilitating group discussions at NCS Madison’s Virtual CIO & CISO Strategy Meeting on July 21, 2020, for executives in San Francisco, CA and its surrounding areas.

Tony, the CTO and Head of Innovation and Information Technology at The City of San Leandro, will be leading a thought-provoking group discussion on Adaptive IT vs Alignment IT: Developing IT Strategy to Meet your Organization’s Business Needs. Here is a preview of what will be discussed on July 21, 2020.

” IT leaders need to find the right balance and the right mix because you can’t do 100% adaptive or 100% alignment. “

What is the difference between Adaptive and Alignment IT and how does it relate to the organizational business strategy?

Adaptive IT strategy is about responding to technological and social change; understanding the trends that will impact your industry (in my case government) and then preparing to incorporate those changes in your organization. In a sense, adapting to a changing business climate, which requires innovation, risk changing, changing your business process and how you deliver services and products.

Alignment IT strategy, on the other hand, is about understanding your organization’s core strengths and then building your IT infrastructure and services to maintain, sustain, and exploit those strengths. This works really well when your business is successful at what it does and the climate around you is stable.

So, a business IT strategy needs to do both. The trick is finding the right balance. That’s where a savvy IT leader can step in, understand where to support the business (align) and where to drive innovation (adapt).


What are the critical elements in creating and implementing an adaptive IT Strategy? Why are these elements so important? How does Adaptive IT foster the culture of innovation? How do you determine risk versus reward?

As you mention, Adaptive IT is about breakthrough innovation. It’s about understanding what technological change is happening. For example, the shift to virtualization, then Cloud, then mobile. Now, you need to ask, how do those impact the services and products we deliver? Government, to note, is service-driven and not immune to the changing demand in our “customers” (though, I don’t like using that word in a government setting). So you have to adapt to these changes. Adapting to these changes requires changing how your organization does stuff. New services, new processes, overhauls, systems upgrades, and replacements, etc. The ultimate risk is that if you do not adapt, your business will die or become obsolete.


What are the critical elements of an alignment IT strategy?

Alignment is about knowing your organization’s core strengths – what do they do well, what capabilities have they developed, and what is enabling them to thrive? For instance, local governments issue permits for many different things that happen in the city. They have all developed systems, processes and resources (people, financial, technological) to issue such permits. When you look at it, most contractors are happy with the status quo. Plumbers and utility companies, etc. aren’t clamoring for mobile services (yet, anyway). So alignment IT then is about recognizing when something is working well, is not under imminent threat from external technological change, and then supporting, maintaining and enhancing this core competency. It is more about incremental innovation and continuous improvement.


Do alignment and adaptive IT conflict with each other?

Yes, absolutely. They are different skills, different approaches and altogether different goals. They could be directed through entirely separate teams (sometimes this is called bimodal IT). IT leaders need to find the right balance and the right mix because you can’t do 100% adaptive or 100% alignment. However, tensions arise when you need to switch from alignment to adaptive for a given process or service, and that tension will likely permeate the entire organization. This is really where a good discussion can go – how do IT leaders find the right balance, how do they structure their teams, and how do they lead change?


How had COVID-19 influenced your organizational adaptability and how has it impacted your future Adaptive IT strategies post-pandemic?

The pandemic and closures of our physical locations have highlighted the need for robust digital services. For example, in order to continue issuing permits, there has to be a digital option – it can’t all be physical. There is widespread awareness and understanding of the need. The challenge for CIOs and IT leaders will be how to sustain momentum.


What is one thing you would like the attendees of your discussion group to leave knowing?

Tactics for developing a successful IT strategy that blends both adaptive and alignment approaches.


Why have you decided to join us at the 2020 Virtual San Francisco CIO and CISO Strategy Meeting?

It is a great opportunity to connect with peers, lead an important discussion on a topic that I find highly interesting and stimulating, and hopefully to learn from everyone because these challenges are, believe it or not, very similar in both the private and public sectors.


We have limited spots available for this Virtual CIO and CISO Strategy Meeting for IT Executives in and around San Francisco. If you are interested in joining the conversation on Adaptive IT versus Alignment IT: Developing an IT Strategy to Meet Your Organization’s Needs or any of the other great discussion groups available register here: or contact Cesar Valencia at for more information.