Let’s talk a bit about IT strategy. Most IT departments still have the idea that they live isolated from the business. If that would be so, how would all those IT people get paid ad the end of the month? Indeed, by the business they are supporting! IT has a supporting function within the business.
The roles of IT
There are three roles IT should (try to) position itself:
- Following : Reacting but delivering consistently
- Enabling : Predicting, resourcing priorities, delivering
- Leading : Aligned, experienced, leading thinking and planning
Which role does your departement currently furfil? Before you answer, note that probably 85% of the IT departments don’t even manage to be “Following”.
The key points :
- Strict processes
- Clear roles
- Clear objectives
- Performance indicators
- On time delivery
The IT department is following the business on every move it makes. Making sure that it supports the business in it’s needs. The main function of the IT department will be maintenance. Think in line of complying to ITIL guidelines, instead of Cowboy skills.
IT should make the business more effective by;
- Sensing: following, but pro-actively
- Collecting: accurate & complete information without any overhead
- Organizing: shape information to be usable
- Educating: teach your staff to extract knowledge from data
- Transparency: share (correct) information
Enabling is about getting the knowledge out of all the corporate data. Bare in mind that there is no other department capable of seeing the company data(flows) like IT. They should be the ones telling the business where they can improve on linking this data to generate competitive advantages!
When IT fully understands the business, and it’s own strategy is aligned with the business, then will it be able to take a leading role. Costs have to be under control, and transparent towards the business. But one must also master the previous roles (following & enabling). One should be able to understand new technologies as an opportunity towards new products, services or processes. This whole packages should be wrapped around by good customers service & project management skills
So I ask you again; Which role does your departement currently furfil? 😉