Technology strategy


Technology strategy

A Technology strategy (as in Information technology) is a planning document that explains how information technology should be utilized as part of an organization's overall business strategy. The document is usually created by an organization's Chief Information Officer (CIO) or technology manager and should be designed to support the organization's overall business plan.

Consensus building and buy-in

One of the principal purposes of creation of a technology strategy is to create consensus and stakeholder buy-in. There are many methods to this process such as the delphi method. Organizations that have the option of using a non-biased outside facilitator frequently build consensus quickly using these processes.

Successful strategies take into account the collective knowledge of many levels within an organization and attempt to remove bias of one or more individuals. The use of anonymous feedback has been shown to prevent highly destructive passive aggressive employee behavior.

Typical structure of a (IT) technology strategy

The following are typically sections of a technology strategy:
* Executive Summary - single page summary of the IT strategy
** High level organizational benefits
** Relationship to overall business strategy
** Resource summary
*** Staffing
*** Budgets
*** Summary of key projects
* Internal Capabilities
** IT Project Portfolio Management - An inventory of current projects being managed by the information technology department and their status. Note: It is not common to report current project status inside a future-looking strategy document.
** Current IT departmental strengths and weaknesses
* External Forces
** Summary of changes driven from outside the organization
** Rising expectations of users
*** Example: Growth of high-quality web user interfaces driven by Ajax technology
*** Example: Availability of open-source learning management systems
** List of new IT projects requested by the organization
* Opportunities
** Description of new cost reduction or efficiency increase opportunities
***Example: List of available Professional Service contractors for short term projects
** Description of how Moore's Law (faster processors, networks or storage at lower costs) will impact the organization's return on investmentROI for technology
* Threats
** Description of disruptive forces that could cause the organization to become less profitable or competitive
** Analysis IT usage by competition
* IT Organization structure and Governance
** IT organization roles and responsibilities
** IT role description
** IT Governance
* Milestones
** List of monthly, quarterly or mid-year milestones and review dates to indicate if the strategy is on track
** List milestone name, deliverables and metrics

Audience

A technology strategy document is usually designed to be read by non-technical stakeholders involved in business planning within an organization. It should be free of technical jargon and information technology acronyms.

The IT strategy should also be presented to or read by internal IT staff members. Many organizations circulate prior year versions to internal IT staff members for feedback before new annual IT strategy plans are created.

One critical integration point is the interface with an organization's marketing plan. The marketing plan frequently requires the support of a web site to create an appropriate on-line presence. Large organizations frequently have complex web site requirements such as web content management.

Presentation

The CIO, CTO or IT manager frequently creates a high-level overview presentation designed to be presented to stakeholders. Many experienced managers try to summarize the strategy in 5-7 slides and present the plan in under 30 minutes to a board of directors.

It is also common to produce a professionally bound booklet version of the strategy - something physical that IT teams can refer to, rather than the more disposable presentation slides.

cope and size

Although many companies write an overall business plan each year, a technology strategy may cover developments somewhere between three and 5 years into the future.

Relationship between strategy and enterprise technology architecture

A technology strategy document typically refers to but does not duplicate an overall enterprise architecture. The technology strategy may refer to:
* High-level view of Logical architecture of information technology systems
* High-level view of Physical architecture of information technology systems

ee also

*Business strategy
*Strategy
*Digital strategy
*Project Portfolio Management
*Second Half of the Chessboard

References

* "The Business Value of Computers: An Executive's Guide" by Paul A Strassmann (1990) ISBN 0-9620413-2-7
* Lawson, J (2006) "Delivering on Strategy: Those That Can...Do!! Those Who Simply Talk... Make Another Fine Mess", "Spectra - Journal of the MCA, June 2006" [http://newsweaver.co.uk/spectrajournal/e_article000595879.cfm?x=b11,0,w See Article Here.]
* [http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/depts/cahrs/PDFs/WorkingPapers/WP00-05.pdf The Human Capital Impact on e-Business: The Case of Encyclopedia Britannica] . This case study is widely quoted example how technology has large impacts an overall organization's overall business strategy.


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