Whenever I am asked if I can get involved in a helping an organization with a strategic approach to technology I always come back with the same answer. I will do it but only if I can start with an understanding of the business.
To get this understanding, I talk to as many people as I can that are involved in the business, including those who work in it, its suppliers and its customers.
I ask this because without an understanding of what you are trying to achieve than any technology may be what you need. As the old saying goes: ‘If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will do.’
The first step in deciding a strategic approach is to work out what you are aiming at. The truth is that this is true whether you are dealing with technology or any other aspect if the business. Your technology strategy should support your business strategy. Many organisations blame technology as the root of their problems when more often it is the organisation structure and vision that is missing.
There are three steps to heaven yet I have ended up using a very simple five step plan to get to a strategic position:
- An understanding of the purpose of the business and the capabilities needed.
- A high level technology vision(or whatever you are trying to envision) and the component parts that support the business’ purpose.
- A comparison of the desired position with the current position, identifying what is missing and what is therefore needed.
- Develop a roadmap and work plan to take the organization from where it is to where it needs to be.
- Finally to define a set of metrics to measure success against the strategy. If you don’t have this you can’t tell if what you are doing is working.
Using this approach really works. It helps to clarify an organisation’s thought process and gets people to buy into the outcome.
Try it yourself.