IT strategy

What is IT strategy?

An information technology (IT) strategy is a complete plan consisting of intentions, regulations, and tactics that relate to the use of technologies within a particular organization. It focuses largely on technologies and the people who manage them. 

IT strategies focus on building, developing, and establishing technology driven capabilities to drive value for an organization. Such strategies are usually executed and enforced through the use of a strategic IT plan, which documents precise steps, deliverables, and timelines.

How do you develop an IT strategy?

The most important steps in developing a successful IT strategy include: 

  1. Aligning your business strategy, objectives, and requirements, including: 

    a. Sales targets and pipeline
    b. Growth plans
    c. Plans for upcoming mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships
    d. Action plans across multiple teams
     

  2. Communicate with executive and operations teams to collate and deduce common themes whilst analyzing directional trends. The following tools are effective when creating an IT framework: 

    a. Individual interviews
    b. Questionnaires and surveys
    c. Consultations with resident groups and your board of directors
    d. Departmental interviews 

  3. Define schedule and scope by communicating the importance and purpose of your IT strategy. The lifespan of your IT strategy should be defined in this stage, including implementation, integration, and review. 

What are some IT strategy components?

A clear strategic roadmap with priorities that are closely related to business goals is essential for creating an IT strategy and executing digital transformation. The following components play a crucial part in reaching these goals: 

  1. Define a vision – Technology leaders and CIOs need to convey a vision that provides a framework to clearly define current business practices and their future needs.
  2. Build an IT strategy roadmap – IT roadmaps are used to define the necessary steps that a business must take to get the most out of IT, stay ahead of trends, and expand competitive advantages. 
  3. Retain complete awareness – Executive teams and business leaders need to understand the impact of emerging technologies and have their finger on the pulse when it comes to technological innovation.
  4. Business alignment – Business objectives need to be universal and incorporate input and feedback from all major departments. Aligning IT and business goals will help businesses to understand intended successes and chart an appropriate path for growth. 

What is an IT strategy plan?

An IT strategy plan documents and outlines the steps needed to reach goals and targets. It’s a logical process that clearly defines the phases of action that will lead you through your undertaking. 

The major components of an IT strategy plan include: 

  • Mission, vision and aspirations 
  • Core values 
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats 
  • Objectives, strategies, and operational tactics

IT strategy vs. business strategy

Business strategies are generally concerned with strategic decisions, like comparative advantage, customer satisfaction, and choice of product, and are normally irrespective of technology. 

Technology strategies have technological innovation and best practices at their core. Technology driven organization strategies advance change in existing ecosystems through efficiency, convenience, and innovation.

What is an IT strategy framework?

IT strategy frameworks allow businesses to use and outline plans to achieve future goals and objectives relating to core aspects of IT. Its main purpose is to clarify how a business will use programs and initiatives to strengthen stakeholder vision across the board. 

The following initiatives and business objectives can be managed through strategic frameworks: 

  • Establishing brand awareness 
  • Expanding into different markets or niches 
  • Incorporating sustainable practices 
  • Cultivating a strong customer base 
  • Decreasing long-term debt

IT strategy examples

  1. University of Oregon – The University of Oregon wanted to focus on improving and developing academic research and excellence. They were able to expand their existing IT strategy in such a way that incorporated governance, resources, investments, and transformation. The result was a strategic planning process that allowed for concurrent, continuous updates as new challenges surfaced. 
  2. Harvard University – Harvard sought to include as many people and departments at the table as possible to get a fully rounded view of present and future requirements. They pinpointed key university priorities, trends in higher education, and existing strengths and weaknesses. The result was an IT strategy that met their current demands while ensuring future growth.  

IT strategy and digital transformation

Digital transformation in the IT sector uses digital workflows to create or modify business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet the changing demands of digital-first and market requirements.  

IT performance is integral to the continued success and development of digital transformation strategies. The two go hand in hand with IT strategies, boosting overall digital efficiency. But in order to be truly innovative, CIOs need to advance and build new ways to manage technology during digital transformation. 

IT effectiveness in the context of digital transformation incorporates the accomplishment of the best outcomes related to strategy, tactics, goodwill, transactions, regulations, and risk aversion.

Conclusion

IT strategies are an essential part of any modern business operating in the digital sphere. The central benefit associated with executing an IT strategy is cost. Carefully planning and organizing the purchase of hardware or software implementation is by far the most efficient,  long-term and cost-effective solution. 

Most leading software companies allow businesses to take advantage of subscription services which reduce the need for expensive licensing outlays. Hardware-as-a-service (Haas) is utilized by businesses who want to reduce capital expenditure on IT equipment and future-proof their strategies. Scalability and flexibility can be easily achieved through the implementation of IT strategies which in turn, help maintain healthy business capital

Published: April 26, 2022

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