Recently I have been focused on refreshing the strategy of a large IT organization. For anyone who has worked in the IT shop for a large company you have probably felt the pain of getting traditionally technically focused folks to understand and embrace the broader and longer-term view of developing a strategy that supports an even broader business strategy. I have been through the strategy development process before both in IT and at the corporate level, but knew that IT can be a different animal in this regard and was looking for some new tools to help with this undertaking. Through my professional network I was introduced to the book Reboot: Competing with Technology Strategy, by Lisa Jasper and Jim Smelley.
This book was refreshingly light on both technical and strategy wonk jargon and cuts to the chase of understanding that IT organizations need to start realizing they are part of the same company as the business they support. Especially in today’s day and age where technology increasingly drives product development, service delivery, innovation, and competitive advantage. Lisa and Jim have spent years in the guts of IT organizations and get the typical obstacles that arise when discussing ‘IT strategy.’ They surmise that IT strategy should really be thought of as the entire organization’s technology strategy.
To frame the discussion between all the key stakeholders they propose a very simple to understand model that can be used to drive the technology strategy development focused on 4 main categories:
- Strategy – the organizational strategy being pursued
- Technology – the technology required to support, enable, drive the strategy
- Service Delivery – the processes, structures, tools required for technology to deliver on the strategy
- Organization – the organizational structure, skills, and capabilities required to implement the technology strategy
My career has been spent both on the IT and business strategy side of the corporate spectrum and I found this book and approach easy for either side to understand and adept at making the case to stop looking at IT strategy in a silo. It is light on uptake, as a quick read, but heavy on usable concepts to drive a productive conversation between both the technical IT and less technical business users.