We've been talking about “aligning IT with the business” since SOA first took legs but you rarely see concrete examples of what that really means.
It sounds much more grand and lofty than it really is. To put it in layman’s terms, or at least take it out of marketing terms, aligning IT with the business is really nothing more than justifying or tying a particular IT investment or project to a specific business goal. What that means ultimately is that you, as an IT professional, must understand what those business goals are in the first place. Once you know the goals, you can translate them to an IT goal and then down into specific operational implementations supporting or enabling that goal. If that operational implementation requires an investment, you can then justify the investment based on support for that specific business goal.
Here are a few examples of translation from business goal to operational implementation:
more of the SOA article from Lori Macvittie