Does Your Technology Strategy Support Your Business Strategy?
Business strategy is about effectively gaining and maintaining a sustainable edge over your competitors. In today's digital world, your business strategy is dependent on having a supporting technology strategy.
Your business may be starting up, or it may be well established and producing desired outcomes. Technology does not stay still, and neither do your competitors, many of whom will be making the most of technology.
Your Technology Strategic Plan
Your technology strategic plan is the vision and plan of how technology will be utilised to support your business strategy. It defines outcomes and objectives, and what principles and standards will be adhered to. This plan guides all technology direction and deployment in your business. It does not focus on detail, as this is addressed with risk management and system design. The technology strategy is reviewed regularly and kept current.
The technology strategy must also set an appropriate level of security to what makes your business unique. Having your business data or IP fall into the hands of competitors or ex-employees is not an option.
Does Your Business Have a Technology Plan?
Having no technology strategy plan is all too common among SME’s (small and medium businesses). This is often due to both the business owner and the IT company treating technology as a commodity exercise, rather than as a well-oiled plan for remaining competitive. Often there is a distinct lack of connection between business goals and technology strategy. As a result, most SMEs suffer from either incorrect or poor utilisation of technology, stifling efficiency, growth and profitability.
Frequently Observed Problems
IT has become very complex. Unlike more established professions, there is a lack of robust standards when it comes to management, privacy and security. Over 90% of system failures and security breaches can be traced back to a common underestimation of risks, and therefore being short-sighted in IT planning and failure to implement adequate policies. If the IT company does not understand strategy, the business owner will be at a distinct disadvantage.
Another commonly observed problem is the business owner getting conflicting advice, which results in them not knowing who or what to trust.
Geeks Are Not Technology Strategists
Working in IT is a cool thing to say, but it does not make one an expert in IT strategy. Everyone from the salesman behind the counter at your local IT shop, to the geek who fixed your computer, wants to offer advice. Technology strategy, is a specialist role, and not filled by a salesman, IT technician or engineer, all of whom have their loyalty to the company that employees them. Advice is often centred around what their company offers.
5 Attributes of a Professional Technology Strategist
A true technology strategist:
- gives objective advice;
- has a very good understanding of business processes and automation;
- possesses inventive problem solving skills;
- has a thorough understanding of technology principles and standards; and
- is prepared to get the right solution for your business.
A good technology strategy will enhance your business, but a bad strategy or no strategy at all, may cripple or derail your business goals. Leaving your technology strategy in the hands of someone who is not equipped or not objective is a recipe for disaster.
- Do you have a comprehensive technology strategy plan or is your IT just a commodity purchasing process?
- Have you written and documented this plan?
- Are you referring to your plan when making decisions about your technology?
- Does the management team refer to and update the plan when making business decisions or course changes?
- What is the key vision and key objectives in your technology strategy?
- What are the core underlying principles of your technology strategy?
- Could someone effectively manage the technology direction of your business and make decisions with this plan?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, give us a call.