Before we understand IT Strategy we need to understand strategy itself. Strategy is a word that is used often incorrectly or at least ambiguously. This may be because of varying definitions that are provided by various sources. Let’s demystify it.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, strategy is: A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. In plain English, strategy is nothing more than a plan to achieve a long-term goal. Military leaders know that a strategy is a means to outflank and outwit an opponent by outthinking, out-planning and out-executing them. This definition of strategy has more relevance to a business.
Professor Michael E. Porter of the Harvard Business School provides great insights about what a strategy is for a business. According to Porter, Strategy is about doing something unique that is of value, uniquely. Porter’s view is that by doing this, businesses can differentiate themselves and maintain a competitive advantage.
So, what is IT Strategy and can IT have its own strategy? In a word, no. By Porter’s definition an IT organization cannot have its own strategy, as it is not trying to differentiate itself from other technology groups. Rather, it is supporting and enabling the strategy of the business as a whole.
So what then is IT strategy? According to Gartner’s IT Glossary, IT Strategy is the discipline that defines how IT will be used to help businesses within their chosen business context. In this perspective, the IT Strategy must ensure that IT has the capabilities to support the business strategy in terms of people, processes and technology.
Defining the elements of IT Strategy is a difficult exercise. Here is an overview of how we recommend developing an IT Strategy:
We will continue to flesh these out more fully in future blogs. Stay tuned! Please tell us how you might go about developing IT Strategy.
ProcureVision, LLC is a management consulting company that enables our client's business success through the optimization of their people, process and technology. We provide creative, customized and completely implementable solutions.