IT strategy

One of the topics that keeps coming up in the social events I go to, is an effective IT strategy.

A short answer, given by a few friends and colleagues – if in doubt, look at organisation strategy and and align with this. You can always build on that as your IT capability matures and you take on more responsibilities. I’d argue it’s more important to start with a solid vision and mission statements for your IT organisation. Relevant strategies (architecture, development, demand, delivery, operations, CSI et al) can be built on those statements. Not to be forgotten that mostly the IT is enabling function. If it doesn’t deliver the basics well enough it becomes irrelevant – either the organisation neglect it and seek help elsewhere or go out of business.

Some of the best IT strategy examples I’ve seen are displayed on a single page. There the focus is on the following items:

  • core purpose of IT (kind of obvious but often lost in translation)
  • key capabilities and operating model (what IT does and doesn’t do)
  • core values (how the unit behaves)

These areas provide answers to basic questions – what IT is, why it exists and how IT operates. I’ve run workshops in the past with aim of defining the IT strategy. We’ve started with the three points above using familiar language to the organisation. As an example it could read:

“The purpose of organisation X IT department is to ensure the IT systems and services consumed by the organisation meet its needs by being designed with the user in mind, adequately provisioned, secure, available and resilient. The IT department does this by developing mix of in-house and external capabilities. We partner with subject matter experts in the field to develop and support key business applications, and integrate those via API interface with supply chain and customer facing resources.”

Or something similar that is relevant to your case.