October 10, 2019 - by Tim Britt
In the age of digital transformation, the role of IT in the development and execution of business strategy has grown significantly; today, IT is no longer a mere support function, but a foundation on which successful businesses are built. However, as the rate and pace of business and technology change accelerate, organizations need to move away from traditional approaches to IT planning that are rigid and fail to keep pace.
Businesses need to develop and execute a clear and strategic IT road map with priorities that are closely linked to business goals. That said, here are 14 key components of an IT strategy that play a major role in helping organizations achieve business goals:
The most important component of any IT strategy is vision; if you don’t know where you are going, how can you ever reach there? The CIO, along with technology leaders, need to come up with a vision that outlines where the organization is currently, where it aspires to reach with respect to IT, and what measures the company has to take to get there.
Once the vision has been established, a clear road map needs to be built that is framed by the vision. The IT road map will lay out the steps the organization has to take in order to drive more value from IT, stay ahead of trends, and achieve competitive advantage while improving customer experience – all along the way.
No IT strategy can be successful unless the board, executive team, and business unit leaders have a thorough understanding of the emerging technologies and their potential to impact the organization. Being aware of the latest technological innovations and having a tech-driven mindset will go a long way in ensuring the success of the IT organization.
An IT strategy is not actionable if it doesn’t take into account the objectives of the entire organization. Given how deeply integrated IT is with very aspect of the enterprise, alignment of IT goals with business goals is crucial so that the IT department understands what the company intends to achieve, and chart a path that contributes accordingly to those goals.
Every organization is built based on a specific set of value statements or guiding principles; the same holds true for the IT department as well. It is important for an IT plan to state the core beliefs and values that are part of the IT foundation – principles that are enduring, distinctive, and that never change.
No IT strategy is complete without knowing what funds the organization has, and what funds it would need to get where it’s going. Based on past investments and future projections, organizations need to come up with a financial assessment of IT systems and processes, so they can gain much greater control over their organization’s performance.
In a world where competition is intense, an IT strategy should also mention what the organization is better at, with respect to its competitors. This can help organizations to put in more time, money and efforts in strengthening their competitive position, and ensure they always have an edge over others.
Another important aspect of a successful IT strategy is short-term objectives. An IT strategy should clearly state what the organization is looking to achieve in the short-term. Goals can include assessing current IT landscape, identifying non-value adding systems and processes, strengthening access control measures, training current staff, and more.
In addition to short-term objectives, an IT strategy should also mention long-term goals. Every organization must be clear on what IT goals it aspires to achieve – preferably in the longer term; these can range from getting rid of legacy systems, modernizing the website, upgrading/migrating applications, embracing AI, incorporating the latest IT security measures and so on.
An IT strategy is only as good as the people entrusted with bringing it to life. For any IT strategy to be successful, it is important for people from every department to list down their IT requirements, and ensure they are incorporated into the strategy. It is through their inputs can organizations really achieve the IT goals it has set out to achieve.
Given the rate and pace of technological and business change, the chances that the organization is unable to stick to the roadmap are high. Since the landscape is constantly changing, continuous assessment should also be a part of the IT strategy; this will help organizations evaluate where they are today, and what adjustments they need to make, so they can follow the roadmap – without much deviation.
Today’s organizations are relying heavily on IT, but that has also opened them up to new risks. The purpose of an IT strategy should also be to improve the security posture of the organization. As IT security issues keep CIOs awake, enterprises must find ways to guard their systems; a well-thought-out IT strategy with the right security measures can help eliminate modern threats and keep up with emerging ones – around the clock.
Apart from security, governance also has a big role to play in how the eventual IT strategy shapes up. From decision control to business process integration, governance represents the key constraints a business can place on its IT strategy. It is through effective governance that organizations can implement the right measures or address issues that come with technology adoption.
Companies must also focus on developing their IT capabilities plan on an ongoing basis in order to reach IT goals faster. These include attracting fresh talent or training existing talent, developing sophisticated data strategies, implementing the latest enterprise platforms, building a culture of experimentation, and partnering with technology and vendor ecosystems to drive maximum value.
And finally, the underlying IT infrastructure plays a big role in the accomplishment of IT goals. The infrastructure component represents all the hardware, software, applications, systems and networks (that connect everything) required to efficiently run the business. The infrastructure is the engine that delivers on the promises of IT and allows the business to reach it goals – within time, and budget.
A robust IT strategy is no longer just a list of technologies to implement; rather, it is a series of steps required to be made to maximize value from IT. Effectively supporting today’s IT-informed business strategies requires CIOs to move away from conventional IT models.
CIOs need to embrace approaches that are business-driven, flexible and constantly updated. In order to get the most out of IT, and leverage it to drive revenue, organizations must ensure their IT strategic planning is deeply rooted in the business strategic plan.
Incorporating these essential components into your IT strategy is a great way to get the highest returns from your IT environment, and leverage it to achieve results. Contact a Synoptek expert today.