IT strategy (information technology strategy) is a comprehensive plan that outlines how technology should be used to meet IT and business goals. An IT strategy, also called a technology strategy or IT/technology strategic plan, is a written document that details the multiple factors that affect the organisation’s investment in and use of technology.
Organisations formalise their IT strategy in a written document or balanced scorecard strategy map. The plan and its documentation should be flexible enough to change in response to new organisational circumstances, market and industry conditions, business priorities and objectives, budgetary constraints, available skill sets and core competencies, technology advances, and user needs.
Basics of an IT strategy
A strong IT strategy provides a blueprint of how technology supports and shapes the organisation’s overall business strategy. Its’ strategic goals should be aligned with business objectives and take into account the needs of key stakeholders; including employees, customers, and business partners.
The strategy should offer a view of the organisation’s current technology posture and provide an idea of where IT should head over the next three to five years.
There are different models that help executives construct an IT strategy, yet most contain certain key elements including:
- A high-level overview of the IT department that covers its mission, core values, objectives and approaches to accomplishing its goals.
- Current budgets and spending forecasts for a multi-year timeline.
- An outline of current and future IT projects and initiatives with timelines and milestones.
- A catalog of existing enterprise architecture; IT department capabilities and capacities; and future needs and requirements with details about infrastructure, staffing and other necessary resources.
- An analysis of IT’s strengths and weaknesses.
- A list of the internal and external forces (such as market and industry trends) that shape current technology requirements and innovations as well as the future forces expected to shape IT.
- A prediction of the potential opportunities and vulnerabilities that will necessitate technology responses to best position the organisation for success.
Although the IT strategy by its very nature needs to address complex technology details; it should not be considered a technical document, but rather a business document. As such, it should be written in clear, concise language that’s free of technical jargon.
Why every company needs one?
An IT strategy has become a critical element for organisational leadership in recent decades. Its growing importance mirrors the rise of technology itself as a critical element for business success. The importance of an IT strategy has been amplified over the past few years; as organisations focus on digital transformation and thriving in the digital age. Technology is essential for creating new business models, products and services; enhancing customer service as well as customer experiences; increasing sales; enabling workers and improving productivity; and supporting interactions with vendors and other business partners.
As such, organisations must formulate a technology strategy to accomplish those things as well as compete against others with the same objectives.
Some organisations, particularly platform companies and other businesses whose entire product is based on technology offerings, may decide to forgo a separate IT strategy. Instead, these organisations may (and, in some cases, already do) fold IT strategies into the overall business strategy to create a single unified document.
How to create an IT strategy
Just as there are varying models for the document itself; there are multiple ways to approach the creation of an IT strategy. Still, commonalities exist, such as an initial review of the organisation’s existing strategic IT plan and related documents.
This step should be followed by an assessment of how the organisation is meeting established objectives, milestones, benchmarks and relevant key performance indicators. This assessment should identify the technology currently in use; the gaps that exist between these current IT operations, and the objectives and strategic goals outlined in the ongoing strategic plans.
KPM Global Technologies teams work with Senior IT leaders and collaborate with their business-side counterparts to further develop the IT strategy. KPM Global Technologies also creates the groundwork for IT executives to develop short-term and long-term objectives, budget projections, technology predictions and the perceived future opportunities and vulnerabilities that go into the technology strategy along with the corresponding summaries needed for the final document.
A strong IT strategy relies not just on creating the plan, but also on proper implementation of it. After all, these documents don’t do any good if they’re ignored after completion.
The defined IT Strategy document should be used as a guide to take tactical technology decisions, thereby helping the IT department align its day-to-day operations with the overall business model and mission.
However, adherence to the IT strategy should not be overly rigid. The fast pace of technology advancements and innovation require organisations to be agile if they want to seize upon new, and sometimes unforeseen, developments that can help them be more competitive or better serve their market.
KPM Global Technologies team, support organisation CIOs, CTOs in proper implementation of IT strategy; and also reassess and redevelop the technology strategy at least annually and possibly revisit it even more frequently. This is done; so as to, first, verify that the tactical plans align with the technology strategy and, second, verify the technology strategy remains aligned with the overall organisational mission as it changes in response to shifting dynamics