Technology strategy

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Technology strategy (Information Technology strategy or IT strategy) is the overall plan which consist of objective(s), principles and tactics relating to use of the technologies within a particular organization. Such strategies primarily focus on the technologies themselves and in some cases the people who directly manage those technologies. The strategy can be implied from the organization's behaviors towards technology decisions, and may be written down in a document.

Other generations of technology-related strategies primarily focus on: the efficiency of the company's spending on technology; how people, for example the organization's customers and employees, exploit technologies in ways that create value for the organization; on the full integration of technology-related decisions with the company's strategies and operating plans, such that no separate technology strategy exists other than the de facto strategic principle that the organization does not need or have a discreet 'technology strategy'.

A technology strategy has traditionally been expressed in a document that explains how technology should be utilized as part of an organization's overall corporate strategy and each business strategy. In the case of IT, the strategy is usually formulated by a group of representatives from both the business and from IT.[1] Often the Information Technology Strategy is led by an organization's Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or equivalent. Accountability varies for an organization's strategies for other classes of technology. Although many companies write an overall business plan each year, a technology strategy may cover developments somewhere between 3 and 5 years into the future.

The United States identified the need to implement a technology strategy in order to restore the country's competitive edge. In 1983 Project Socrates, a US Defense Intelligence Agency program, was established to develop a national technology strategy policy.

Business-Technology Alignment[edit]

Primary objective of designing Technology Strategy is to make sure that the Business Strategy can be realized through Technology and Technology Investments are aligned to Business. There are frameworks (E.g. ASSIMPLER) to study current and future Business Strategy, assess Business-IT alignment on various parameters, identify gaps,and define Technology Roadmaps and Budgets. Technology Strategy facilitates the attainment of a company's vision through alignment of its information technology strategy with its business strategy.

The important components of information tech-strategy is information technology and strategic planning working together.

Typical structure of a (IT) technology strategy[edit]

The following are typically sections of a technology strategy:

  • Executive Summary - This is a summary of the IT strategy
    • High level organizational benefits
    • Project objective and scope
    • Approach and methodology of the engagement
    • Relationship to overall business strategy
    • Resource summary
      • Staffing
      • Budgets
      • Summary of key projects
  • Internal Capabilities
    • IT Project Portfolio Management - An inventory of current projects being managed by the information technology department and their status. Note: It is not common to report current project status inside a future-looking strategy document. Show Return on Investment (ROI) and timeline for implementing each application.
    • An inventory of existing applications supported and the level of resources required to support them
    • Architectural directions and methods for implementation of IT solutions
    • Current IT departmental strengths and weaknesses
  • External Forces
    • Summary of changes driven from outside the organization
    • Rising expectations of users
    • List of new IT projects requested by the organization
  • Opportunities
    • Description of new cost reduction or efficiency increase opportunities
      • Example: List of available Professional Service contractors for short term projects
    • Description of how Moore's Law (faster processors, networks or storage at lower costs) will impact the organization's ROI for technology p
  • Threats
    • Description of disruptive forces that could cause the organization to become less profitable or competitive
    • Analysis IT usage by competition
  • IT Organization structure and Governance
    • IT organization roles and responsibilities
    • IT role description
    • IT Governance
  • Milestones
    • List of monthly, quarterly or mid-year milestones and review dates to indicate if the strategy is on track
    • List milestone name, deliverables and metrics

Audience[edit]

A technology strategy document is usually designed to be read by non-technical stakeholders involved in business planning within an organization. It should be free of technical jargon and information technology acronyms.

The IT strategy should also be presented to or read by internal IT staff members. Many organizations circulate prior year versions to internal IT staff members for feedback before new annual IT strategy plans are created.

One critical integration point is the interface with an organization's marketing plan. The marketing plan frequently requires the support of a web site to create an appropriate on-line presence. Large organizations frequently have complex web site requirements such as web content management.

Presentation[edit]

The CIO, CTO or IT manager frequently creates a high-level overview presentation designed to be presented to stakeholders. Many experienced managers try to summarize the strategy in 5-7 slides and present the plan in under 30 minutes to a board of directors.

It is also common to produce a professionally bound booklet version of the strategy - something physical that IT teams can refer to, rather than the more disposable presentation slides.

Relationship between strategy and enterprise technology architecture[edit]

A technology strategy document typically refers to but does not duplicate an overall enterprise architecture. The technology strategy may refer to:

Freeware[edit]

MappIT is a free tool (only for 30 runs of the program) used to map and analyze IT Strategic assets (systems, business processes, infrastructure, people, skills, roles, organization, spending...) and their lifecycle. It was launched in its first version in February 2012.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Floyd, S.W. & Wolf, C. (2010) 'Technology Strategy' In: Narayanan, V.K. & O'Connor, G.C. (eds.) Encyclopedia of technology and innovation management. West Sussex: Wiley pp. 125-128. ISBN 1-4051-6049-7
  • Lawson, J (2006) "Delivering on Strategy: Those That Can...Do!! Those Who Simply Talk... Make Another Fine Mess", "Spectra - Journal of the MCA, June 2006" See Article Here.
  • Strassmann, Paul A. (1990), The Business Value of Computers: An Executive's Guide, The Information Economic Press  ISBN 0-9620413-2-7.
  • The Human Capital Impact on e-Business: The Case of Encyclopædia Britannica. This case study is widely quoted example how technology has large impacts an overall organization's overall business strategy.