Find a strategy for your IT strategy

It’s hard enough for a CIO to develop a current IT strategy for an organization, particularly if the entity has many diverse divisions. What about the next step?

The solution, says futurist Thornton Mays, is a having strategy for strategy — in other words, a way to determine what IT should do next.

Before you think this will end up going down the proverbial rabbit hole to nowhere, Mays suggests you consider this: IT publisher IDG has asked CIOs for the last five years how IT is perceived by the C-suite. This was the first year “business game changer” came out of single digits.

“If most C-level colleagues don’t see IT as a business game changer, it could be because most CIOs see IT strategic planning as a matter of translating what the business decides about where it’s going,” argues Mays. “They wait to be told what the business plans to do next year and then figure out what that means in the way of new applications, support costs, manpower and projects.

“I know of a CIO at a major financial institution who once told his direct reports, “If the business wanted that, I am sure they would have asked for it.” But CIOs who see IT as a game changer think that a strategy devised by IT can actually create new endpoints.”

Unfortunately, he says, most IT strategy focuses on how to do things cheaper better and faster. Instead it should ask how can we create competitive advantage.

It’s hard not to see the forest for the trees — to not get bogged down in the day-to-day problems of running a data centre and the associated staff. These days, with IT security problems being reported almost hourly that’s even more true. But somehow the time must be found for planning what Mays calls “Strategy with a big S.”

Let us know in the comments section below how you do it, so your colleagues can learn.





Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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