Prepare for a successful IT strategy

We’ve heard the benefits of IT strategy before: business-IT alignment, greater effectiveness and efficiency, and the list goes on. However, these benefits are realizable only if your organization is successful with both IT strategy development and IT strategy execution.

A great IT strategy that sits on the shelf is useless, and a bad IT strategy that gets executed can be even more harmful. In either case, the blame falls on IT and the CIO. Too many organizations dive headfirst into IT strategy development without being properly prepared.

The development of an IT strategy requires specific expertise that may not be readily available at a given IT shop. It’s not a task that a typical IT organization performs every day, so it’s not surprising why so many organizations look for outside help. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire from the outside, keep these three things in mind:

  1. Not all stakeholders are equal. Identify and prioritize IT strategy stakeholders who really matter and understand their concerns to drive the IT strategy development effort.
  2. Plan it out. Develop a charter for the IT strategy development project to communicate an overview of the project to its stakeholders, facilitate decision making, reach agreement, secure stakeholders’ buy-in, and obtain official approval.
  3. Do a reality check. Does your organization have the capabilities required to successfully execute the IT strategy?

Don’t attempt to develop an IT strategy with insufficient pre-planning, or you’ll lose key stakeholders along the way, and your strategy will address the wrong topics and the wrong time frame at the wrong level of detail.

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