IT strategy framework
Here, in this article, we shall try to understand the IT strategy framework, the key components that make up an IT strategy. It will help you to understand how important every component is, how are they inter-related, and how CIOs along with key business decision-makers prioritize the IT-specific goals and business objectives while formulating the IT strategy.
Just a to-do list for what information technology capabilities you must have in your business is not what comprises the IT strategy. It is much more than that. It is a blueprint of a business’s technological capabilities, alignment of these capabilities with the business strategy, and ways of the fulfilment of business-specific needs of all the stakeholders. It creates an outlook for a company’s IT setting in the next couple of years as compared to the current IT scenario. Since an IT strategy is one of the most essential tools for driving business results, it must be given the attention it deserves.
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IT strategy framework
It is important for businesses to create a strong IT strategy framework that works even in the midst of ever-evolving technologies, shifting business priorities, and changing IT teams. Though it differs from company to company, the basic structure has the same components. The responsibility lies on the CIO and business leaders to make the IT strategy framework flexible and dynamic enough to accept the change in parameters without affecting the overall business health. The key components of an IT strategy framework are:
A basic understanding of the business
The most important constituent of an IT strategy is the vision, mission, objectives, and goals of an organization. A deep analysis into these aspects helps you to know about the organization’s business and the key aspirations that it has in regards to IT and other business processes. This component also includes an analysis of the core principles, values, and beliefs that the business stands for and that will continue to remain intact.
A basic understanding of the company’s strategy, direction of movement, and plans for future growth are essential to understand the core of the organization. It is also crucial to be aware of the key stakeholders, their needs and expectations, and the importance of their roles in the organization so that you consider them while taking future actions. This component also expands to include an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of an organization along with the key metrics that are used for measuring them. All these aspects form the strong foundation of an organization based on which the IT strategy framework will be formulated.
Evaluation of the current IT situation in the company
Another important component of an IT strategy framework is the evaluation of the existing IT architecture of the business. A study of the current capabilities and capacities of the business in IT will give an idea of what strengths it has and what is lacking. You must assess where the organization stands today in terms of IT infrastructure and what IT assets are adding value to the business and what are turning out to be liabilities.
You must look into the IT budget, processes, data, infrastructure, applications, resources, and allocation of costs on each. The IT assets that you must assess include servers, routers, switches, firewalls, modems, power supplies, physical computer rooms, cloud environments, hosted data centres, telecommunications hardware, hardware and software licenses, operating system licenses, third-party software, and many others. A study of the current IT team, their roles and responsibilities, and their skills will give you a better idea of your current strengths.
Enumeration of the desired IT goals
The next important part of the IT strategy framework is to be aware of where the organization intends to reach in terms of IT capabilities and capacities. You need to find answers to questions such as what opportunities the business has in comparison to the external market development, and what challenges it will face in the exploration of those opportunities, and the feasibility check of them.
You need to find answers to:
What is the desired IT environment – will it be on-premises or off-premises, will it be a cloud environment or a data centre at a specified location, or will it be a hybrid setting.
What IT assets are required or need to be replaced
What are the security arrangements required for IT assets
What are the needs for servers, devices, and storage
What are the interfaces you intend to have for access to data and applications
What are the IT capabilities you intend to have in your team
Answers to these questions will help you to understand the desired IT state. Overall, this component requires you to state the key IT objectives that the business has; however, more important is to understand the risk appetite of the business with respect to the desired IT goals.
Assessment of the external forces that shape IT
An IT roadmap is not possible unless you are aware of what is going on in the IT sector externally in the marketplace. You must be aware of the emerging technologies and innovations, implications for your industry vertical, and competitors’ response to them. The knowledge of the market trends, industry factors, and expected challenges in IT will help you shape your IT strategy better.
Creation of a detailed IT roadmap
IT roadmap is the heart of any IT strategy. Your awareness of the current setting of IT in your organization and desired state in the future gives you an idea about the gaps and loopholes that you need to fill. This helps you to identify the steps and action points you need to take to bring a transformation from the current stage to the desired IT status. These action points must ensure to get the maximum value out of IT, improve the quality of products and/or services, better the customer experience, and achieve the stated goals from the IT strategy.
Feasibility check for IT roadmap
Developing an IT roadmap without understanding your business’s capability to execute it does not guarantee the achievement of outcomes. Therefore, you must make sure that you check your human potential, costing and budgets, management skills, and strategic decision-making power for the successful execution of the IT roadmap. You must also account for the timelines and relevant scheduling for each of the IT initiatives. The feasibility check must include consideration of the expected challenges and vulnerabilities that may delay the charted movement of the IT roadmap, thereby derailing the IT strategy.
Governance and continuous monitoring
Planning the entire IT strategy and ensuring that each component is present does not guarantee the smooth execution of the IT strategy. What is more important is the integration of the IT strategy with business processes, control on the decisions, and the right governance measures to ensure the final adoption and shaping up of the IT strategy.
A continuous monitoring system is also essential to assure that the IT roadmap is being followed unfailingly considering the evolving IT environment. The changing IT landscape will require the organization to make relevant adjustments to reduce the risk exposure, guarantee security, and align with the business goals within the budget and timelines.
Technology Strategy Framework
These components make up the IT strategy and form the primary structure of an IT strategy framework. They are essential to align the IT capabilities of a company with its business needs and industry requirements. It is a plan of the IT function amidst the other organizational processes to give it a single, organizational perspective for efficient operations.
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Our IT strategy consulting services
Understanding the IT strategy framework is essential to avoid deviation from the right path for your company. We, at Technovisors, help you with this understanding and more to ensure your movement in the right direction to achieve the desired IT goals. Through our IT strategy consulting services, our IT consultants and business advisors provide value to businesses. We create IT strategies for the changing business needs and evolving technological environment.