In the business world, having a business strategy is a must. Today, IT and business strategies are inseparable, together providing a critical tool in assuring businesses are poised and prepared to deliver value to their clients. How to be successful with the strategy and company’s goals?
Both terms have distinct meanings depending on who you talk to, and their definitions are evolving as our concept of what digital is and what it’s capable of changes. In general – strategy is all about weighing up the different options available to your business and choosing the path which is most likely to succeed.
The best IT strategy is business strategy. Most IT leaders adopt business strategy to become invaluable to their organizations. Successful businesses are increasingly focused on customer satisfaction through better experiences. Successful IT departments are familiar with this expanded focus. Simultaneously, the speed of business continues to accelerate. Technological advancements continuously redefine what is possible. The global economy, lower barriers to entry, and the blurring of the lines between traditional industry segments are redefining entire markets and industries. Every businessman wanting to start their own company will have to think about their business strategy. Indeed, a strong strategy is one step closer to business success. A business strategy is a set of competitive moves and actions that a business uses to attract customers, compete successfully, strengthening performance, and achieve organisational goals. It outlines how business should be carried out to reach the desired ends.
See for yourself how we approach the preparation of the strategy that connects the world of IT and business >>
In this context, your company’s legacy IT system, which seemed so capable a few years ago, is rapidly becoming obsolete. The systems modernization you need today is more than an upgrade; you’re playing a new game with new rules, in which you modernize not just the tools and functions, but the way you do IT. The vendors are largely the same, but the options and principles of the past no longer apply. Hardware no longer stands alone. Sensors and Internet connections are embedded in practically every tool, including those that used to be purely mechanical. Software is no longer sold as a package to install. It is offered as a platform, by subscription from the cloud, is automatically upgraded, and is programmed in new ways.
Yet some of the most important factors have not changed at all. Organizations must remain focused on their competitive edge. Modernization efforts must create value for the enterprise. Investors and other stakeholders are as demanding as ever.
Understanding what to get right — the elements of your IT system necessary to reach your goals — is essential. Knowing how to get it right — how to plan, sequence, invest, design, and engage the enterprise around your technological modernization — is equally important. Some efforts fare better than others.
The B2C sector has made the value of digital engagement clear. Beyond attracting and retaining customers, digital engagement generates what we call the “engagement flywheel”: continuous customer insights that spark ideas for new products and services, deepen the customer relationship, and, in turn, help companies grow. The B2B sector has been lagging in this respect, but loyalty programs can help jump-start digital engagement efforts. You can tailor digital channels and techniques to each unique customer type, including the oft-neglected small and medium-sized enterprises.
If a company wants to stay competitive in the industry, it must create and execute a strategy that is good and sound, not only related to business one but also with IT focus as well. That’s because IT strategy is based on the current technology landscape. And while strategies will anticipate emerging technologies, the speed of such emergence makes those projections uncertain and subject to change. The essence of modern IT strategy is that it’s so tightly integrated with business strategy to the point that it is simply a continuation of business strategy. Achieve that, and IT will have a bonafide seat at the business table as partners in the development of a single, integrated strategy that aligns all work to deliver common goals. To achieve that, IT leaders must take four steps:·
In fact, if you don’t have an IT strategy, you risk being unable to provide the level of service to the business required to fulfill business objectives. This creates a gap between business demands and IT — which may, in turn, lead to an adversarial relationship between lines of business and IT. The IT strategy fulfills many functions, from guiding IT focus and resource allocation to coordinating digital initiatives across the enterprise to engaging managers and workers to work collaboratively toward IT and enterprise success. Achieving those purposes means that CIOs must invest quality time beyond just constructing the IT strategy.
It’s time for IT leaders to unequivocally claim their place at the strategic table. But they can’t do it alone. They need business leaders who recognize the importance of the guidance IT can provide. Because integrated strategies can’t be developed without integrated leadership. IT leaders have the opportunity to evolve from a role of service provider to one of trusted advisor, owning their part of making the entire enterprise successful. Those who succeed will become a driving force in organisational success.
Author: Marek Strojkowski, Head of Sales in Altkom Software & Consulting