IT Strategy: Does It Still Have Value? Part 1

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IT strategy

by William Dupley

We need to transform the IT strategic planning process, but not discard it.

In the early 1990s, I worked with dozens of companies to create strategic IT plans that would transform their operational IT models, for the better. At the time, the process of developing and implementing a new IT strategy took years to plan, create, and implement, and was a comprehensive task that involved input and cooperation from almost everyone at the organization in question. The important question today is: how does a lengthy IT strategic plan, taking years to implement, fit into today’s IT operating model challenges?

The fact is – it doesn’t. When helping clients develop a useful, transformative IT plan, our challenge today is to maintain a relevant, sustainable approach to IT strategic planning. With today’s technology, a timeline of years or even months is unrealistic. We can now order cloud services and adopt new IT capabilities in a matter of hours.

Most companies are facing a new technological reality: in order to stay competitive, they must choose which technological advancements to keep up with in order to thrive. The simple fact is, it’s neither possible nor wise to simply adopt every new tech innovation within your IT model. Nevertheless, it can be tempting to become too reactionary to all of the new technological capabilities that are available. In my experience, most of the transformational plans that fail occur when a company places too much emphasis on the implementation of new technology and not on enough the business problem or use case that needed to be solved.

We need to retain the positive transformational possibilities of IT strategic planning by updating the timelines in which we operate.

This mistake in thinking often creates pressure for companies to “move to cloud” or digitize. The goal should not be to digitize for its own sake; the goal should be to deliver better shareholder value by using new technology wisely so to deliver services as efficiently as possible. We need to retain the positive transformational possibilities of IT strategic planning by updating the timelines in which we operate. By moving from a three-year transformational window to a four-month transformational window, we can still reap the benefits of a strategic IT model that is agile and highly effective in keeping business models current and responsive to customer needs.

As a co-author of the Open Data Center Alliance Cloud Maturity Model, I believe that the new IT paradigm that we need to deliver to our businesses is a Hybrid IT operating model. We define Hybrid IT as:

A Hybrid IT model allows companies to implement only the technological services and capabilities that make sense for the business problem they’re trying to solve. A healthy Hybrid IT model contains five components that should be built to support our businesses going forward. These components are:

These five IT operating model categories are further subdivided into 25 domains, which need to be evaluated in light of new functional requirements that our businesses require. See Cloud Maturity Model Usage Manual.

In part two of this post, we examine how businesses can build an effective, transformational Hybrid IT plan. Read part two here!

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Bill Dupley is a Digital Strategist at FoxNet. He has led IT transformation and strategic planning teams for over 50 companies and governments worldwide and bring extensive experience in IT & Business Strategic Planning, IT process design, and enterprise architecture. Bill has held several positions over his career including the Cloud Chief Technologist for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Canada and Director of Strategy and Business Development for HPE Canada Consulting.

He is a graduate of Ryerson University, a former member of the HPE IT Global SWAT Team, and a member of the Open Data Center Alliance Cloud Maturity Model authorship team. He is dedicated to helping customers equip themselves rapidly for our ever-changing technological world.