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This presentation is not about IT but about creating a strategy in this case an IT (how you might best harness technology to meet your business needs). Its not intended for IT people but for CEOs and senior business managers. This presentation is based upon my 20 year experience within the IT industry, and in running our companies. I cannot stress enough the need to set an IT strategy. A plan of what IT is to deliver to the business - what is it for. The more understanding you have of what you expect from your IT the better you can rationalise your investments in it. One of the key understandings is where IT is to add support to business (eg: accounts, finance, email), and where it is to lead (eg: introducing a brand new service or sales channels). Who should create your strategy? Your business leaders, for only they understand the shape and style of company they are seeking to create. In my experience IT strategy, where done, is often prepared by IT departments, or by accountants. This is a mistake as both of these groups are mostly concerned with business continuance, rather than change or growth. Both of these should advise, but the should not create strategy. External consultants, such as myself, will help to interpret the business issues into IT objectives. NB: Throughout this presentation I have tried to avoid IT jargon, but after 20 years its almost become my mother tongue. Look at the business issues first. Do not look at your existing IT structure and build from there. Remember, IT is there to help serve and deliver the goals, not to limit you. Be clear what your goals are. Whilst the current 'fashionable' IT trends may seem important, they are just that - fashions. Be aware of them, and consider if the goals they achieve are important to you. Whilst your strategy might cover a number of years, it would be a mistake to try and achieve it all straight away, or even plan to. You might grow by 500% in 4 years, you might not. So don't be tempted to over specify your current requirements or you will surely spend more than you need to today. AND if your future projections are wrong you will be no better off for it. Plan for the foreseeable future (24 months), seek to gain payback even in the early months of your investment, and keep alert to changes in needs. (Now I know this goes against the grain - IT is typically written off over 4-5 years - so you might like it to last that long. It probably will, but unless you are totally confident in your prediction of future needs - you should not plan for it to last that long OR for it to take so long to payback). In terms of negotiating with suppliers, nothing is better than competition. If you can keep your options open you will keep your total costs down. But you should keep your options open for other reasons too. No IT manufacturer/supplier has the monopoly on the best ideas, nor can any promise that they will lead the next technology wave in terms of performance or price. If you tie yourself too closely to a particular brand or technology you will (in time) limit your options. Estimating the cost of IT is key to getting to its benefits - and yet in my experience not enough attention is paid in this area. The cost of IT is not the price (of the hardware, software, services, supplies and training you buy), it's all of these AND all of the costs involved with change. Change….. By and large people (your staff, customers, suppliers) don't like change, it unsettles them. Some people will see benefits early, some never, some will accept change, some won't. You might gain the world , or you might also lose staff, skills, suppliers and customers. The process of getting people to embrace change is a complex one and is covered in part in another of our presentations. You need to foresee what effects change will have and plan to overcome the adverse ones. There are all kinds of barriers to a success with IT strategy… Clearly you will need to anticipate what your competitors might do, independently or in reaction to your strategy. You will also have technical issues to overcome. And please do not underestimate the reaction of your existing IT staff. If you are planning to introduce newer technologies that they are unfamiliar with, you may undermine their position as knowledge workers. You may have to re-invent your logistics, administration, sales, etc to implement your plans. You can reasonably expect, because of the changes you are likely to introduce, that some of your staff will feel concerned - and may actually leave or otherwise disrupt the business. (NB: I have not discussed financial barriers here - as they are constant in all our plans, and many different tactics are going to be needed to overcome them). Strategy needs to created at the top, and there is a continuing need for it to be driven from the top too… Earlier on I said, look at all the effects of the change. Those affected may be a few people, or a lot, including multiple departments within your own company and at customers and suppliers too. The wider the audience the more important it is that executive leadership is from the top. Leadership cannot be a short term commitment. When you have a vision, you need to keep communicating it. Reviewing progress is essential, but always look back to the goals, are they still valid? If not (and things change all the time) then you do need to go back to the strategy and revise it? If things go as you planned there may come a time when the strategy is delivering, and seems to be fulfilled. It is not a time to sit back (that time does not exist). Remember, if you have gained a competitive advantage, and it has taken a certain time to do it. Your competitor can emulate it in half that time - and will be doing so. Move on - what is the new vision, what are the new goals.
Get The Right Strategy
Get the right IT strategy ...10 smart-tactics to success
Get an IT strategy <ul><li>Set the goals </li></ul><ul><li>Create the vision </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the reasons </li></ul>
Created by leaders <ul><li>Not by technologists, prophets or accountants </li></ul><ul><li>Not by competitors </li></ul>
Built around goals <ul><li>Focus on results </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore the delivery </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore fashion </li></ul></ul></ul>
Work in the present <ul><li>Focus on what is needed now </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Priorities will change </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technologies will come and go </li></ul></ul></ul>
Keep options open <ul><li>Don’t put all eggs into the same basket </li></ul>
Understand the effects <ul><li>The full cost of IT is not its price </li></ul><ul><li>The effects of IT are wide-ranging </li></ul>
Understand the barriers <ul><li>Competitive </li></ul><ul><li>Logistical </li></ul><ul><li>Technical </li></ul><ul><li>Personnel </li></ul>
Empowered leadership <ul><li>Overcome obstacles to a achieve goals </li></ul>
Continued leadership <ul><li>Don’t drop the ball </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the vision </li></ul>
Review, Renew <ul><li>Don’t sit back </li></ul><ul><li>Review, sustain, promote or sideline </li></ul>