Information technology today is a critical function in most organizations. IT is not only a supporting function, helping to automate routine tasks and promoting process efficiency: It has also become embedded in the products and services of many companies. Even organizations that do not consider themselves “high tech” are now using IT as a core element of their products and services.
Yet, in many companies, IT is only managed as a technical group. The IT systems, IT organization, and IT processes may be designed well from a technical perspective, but poorly aligned from a business perspective. This can be the result of changes in business direction, sudden or long-term growth, or competitive challenges that create dissonance between what the business needs and what IT is providing.
Our Approach to IT Strategy Services
With a focus on both business and technology, our IT strategy consultants can facilitate development of a coherent information technology strategy for the organization. Our IT strategy approach includes the following activities:
- Business Strategy Review. We begin with a review of the mission, vision, goals, and strategy of the business, so that we can derive the implications for IT–what IT needs to be and do in order to support the business strategy. Conversely, what capabilities can IT deliver that can form the basis for new business models?
- Current State Analysis. Here we assess the health of the current IT applications portfolio, with a combination of online user surveys and in-person interviews, ranking each major business system in terms of its importance to the organization, its actual management value, and its technical quality. This gives us an early indication concerning which systems are the highest priority candidates for nurturing, replacement, or upgrading. Using metrics provided by our sister IT research firm, Computer Economics, we also benchmark IT spending and staffing levels, the adoption level for new technologies, and the state of IT management best practices.
- IT Backlog Analysis. Every IT organization has a backlog of new systems projects and change requests. In this step, we evaluate those plans to determine to what extent they are consistent with the business strategy or how they impact the current state analysis.
- Future State Vision. This is the visioning stage of IT strategy, envisioning a future state where IT systems, technology, people, and processes are fully aligned with the business strategy. This stage can also include “art of the possible” workshops, where IT strategy consultants explore what new and innovative technologies have most relevance to your business, and which you should you consider for adoption.
- IT Strategy Roadmap. This is the formulation stage, where we define the individual initiatives of the IT strategy and weave them into a strategic narrative: a story of where you are going and how you going to get there. The final deliverable is a strategic IT road map that defines the desired future state and the way to get there. It also includes summary descriptions, budgetary estimates, and business cases for the major initiatives needed to reach the goal.
Elements of an IT Strategy
A complete IT strategy includes the following, which can be selectively tailored according to your needs:
- IT Applications Portfolio: the business applications that the organization will utilize in support of business processes. These commonly include ERP, CRM, HCM, business intelligence, and a wide variety of industry-specific systems.
- IT Infrastructure: the technical architecture of hardware, operating systems, databases, end-user computing platforms, communications, and facilities. This also includes use of newer cloud platforms to replace on-premises IT infrastructure and systems.
- IT Service Management: decisions concerning how and where IT services should be delivered and by whom, whether by internal IT work groups or by outsourcing or managed services providers.
- IT Organizational Design. IT not just a matter of technology–it is also about people. Our IT strategic planning services also include evaluation of current skills and staffing levels, identification of skills gaps, and designing the optimal IT organizational structure to carry out the road map. If needed, we can also assist in the recruiting process for new IT personnel.
- IT Management Best Practices. IT has its own internal processes, which should utilize proven best practices. These include best practices for IT governance, IT financial management, IT operations, IT security and risk management, and applications development.
Free Resource. Download this free research report as an example of our thinking in IT strategy and how CIOs can take the lead in innovation: Elevating the Role of the CIO→