How you should create an IT Strategy

astrategy

As anyone who started his or her own business, like I did, or have been in a senior leadership position with a business, yep have that too to draw upon.  You were likely asked to add to or develop a strategic plan.

Might have been 3, 5 or even 10 years.  Longer if you are in city planning or such.  There are plenty of templates, courses on how to and consultants a plenty to help you with that effort.

 

From the technology side you tie the strategy (new technology, upgrades, replacements, yada yada) with a technology roadmap.  Think of it like a moving plan.

 

Well, you should stop doing that – now.    astop

 

Instead, focus on capabilities.  A capabilities strategy will not only improve alignment with business, but ensure you are working with the right partners.

If your organization says they want to know more about their customers. What capabilities are need to learn more about your customers?

 

aflexibleImprove flexibility of getting to existing internal data, plus adding multiple external data sources from purchased structured data to unstructured social and other data sources.

 

Stop – don’t start listing the types of databases, servers and application integration points you will need.  That is later, like knowing that the big furniture and appliances get loaded first into the trailer.  Right now we need to know we need a trailer and people who can carry stuff.

Capabilities again.  Integration, analytics (correlation and predictive), data cleansing, visualization and so forth to create the capability to deliver the business value will be needed with in house or consulting services.

Yes, there will be a point where you have to start talking about databases and infrastructure, but by focusing on capabilities you can start with learning your customer’s habits from the internal buying habits for insights as a start to capabilities.  The second part of the roadmap will add another data source and then another, integrating into CRM and Order Management application processes.

This works as I said not only to the benefit of ensuring the technology strategy is exactly aligned with the business strategy, but provides you the language you want to hear from your partner consultants either directly or from their customer references.

aalignment

It works equally with growth and profit focused strategies.

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From CES 2014 to all the top 10 Tech announcements for 2014 – what’s real

When I was a kid my favorite part of the week was Sunday stopping at the bakery on the way home from church.  abakeryWalking into that store with so many choices of what to buy is very similar to going to CES.  While it is called the Consumer Electronics Show, we know that our business users will be finding a way to bring in the tech eventually into our businesses.  aCES 2014
By the way if you are in Clark, NJ check out Vaccaro’s Bakery.   
So is there anything from the wearable tech to the phone controlled home systems along with the heavily hyped Big Data and everything Cloud from those tech new stating this is the year of …
What may I ask will actually be the thing that you decided will make it into your business?
Well let’s start with what your business us using today.   afuture next exit
Your financial transaction system, add to that your order processing and likely for many an inventory, warehouse and other systems to run your business processes.
Your communication systems including your voice, cellular, email and other messaging solutions you likely understand and use more than you do your transactional systems.
Your applications like spreadsheets, word processing, document (file) managers along with, of course the dreaded presentation slide decks.
Oh, and let me not forget those reporting applications if you are not using just spreadsheets.
My estimate is that about half of businesses will look to upgrade or replace what they have now.  I am basing this on the fact that most business users are never happy with what they have – the grass is always greener mentality.
Add the fact that those same business users will be inundated with sales calls espousing the newer, better and easier solutions.  Bad Sales call – http://youtu.be/YCQvdsm6nsg
Then there is the 25% who will push into the cloud.  While their will be the rationalization of the return on investment of reduced headcount, greater flexibility and so forth the true reason will be more likely one or more of the following.
– IT has not been delivering what the business sees as value and this would make sense to change that
– Technology infrastructure has been lagging behind and the cloud is an intriguing option to bring it up to date
– Saying we are in the cloud is cooler than we have a data center
The last 25% focus will actually be on all the stuff we talk about doing.  You know big data, analytics, and mobility in the dream world we would all like to live in, plus using the new AirTame for faster sales presentations (please keep those slides decks to 20 or less) new improvements in virtual reality from Oculus VR could lead the way for simulated virtual office for those leading edge companies looking to stand on the edge a bit.   Airtame
In the end, yes big data, analytics (not just business insight, but predictive and prescriptive analytics) and the cloud are all very real.  Tablets will take over the desktop/laptop world with the tough decision less about brand and more about size.