Tips for Implementing Your IT Strategy


By Arthur Langer

I am often asked about the actual path to IT strategy. Some quick key rules:

1. Do not necessarily follow what other organizations prescribe or have done. 2. Do not "revolutionize" the business--Stick to core values instead. 3. Dealing with technology innovation must become the norm to help evolve the business.

Too often, IT organizations try to "copy" what others have done. I am not a big fan of a methodology of strategy process--strategy is a human factor and is culturally driven.

Perhaps the best way to survive in an IT-driven world is to:

• Address the operational weaknesses in the organization in dealing with new technologies and better realizing business benefits. This feeds operational excellence.

• Provide a mechanism that both enables the organization to deal with accelerated change caused by technological innovations and integrates them into a new cycle of processing and handling of change. This feeds business transformation.

• Create dynamic internal processes that can function on a daily basis and can deal with determining the potential fit of new technologies and their value to the business.

• Provide the internal communication to bridge the gaps between IT- and non-IT related investments. In other words, create one integrated system.

• Monitor IT investments and determine modifications to the life cycle.

• Implement various organizational practices that help foster strategic thinking and learnings that can be linked to performance. This is key at all IT levels.

Remember, a mature technology organization evaluates IT based on its strategic value as well as its ability to be assimilated culturally--and this assimilation includes ALL levels of the organization outside of IT.

Arthur Langer is senior director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Community Engagement at Columbia University. To read Art's monthly analysis columns in CIO Insight, click here.


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