IT Strategy Research Center

Create an IT strategy based on business needs, not just intuition.

Developing an IT strategy shouldn’t happen in isolation. Business context and business needs must inform any strategic plan. Whether you’re refining an existing strategy or starting from scratch, our comprehensive library of proven resources can help you – wherever you are on the IT strategy journey.

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An end-to-end approach to building and executing your IT strategy

As a CIO you have three roles: enable business productivity, run an effective IT shop, and drive technology innovation. Your IT strategy must reflect these three mandates. Follow our three-step approach to build your IT strategy roadmap.

1

Identify the strategic objectives of your business with a strong digital business strategy and recognition of organizational, industry, and environmental context.

2

Build a business-aligned IT strategy using data-driven diagnostics and develop initiatives to fulfill your mandate.

3

Govern and manage your IT journey with strong governance practices, functional IT roadmaps, and organizational design.

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Make Data-Driven Decisions

Review Your Existing
IT Strategy

Work with Info-Tech to refine your IT Strategy to increase its effectiveness.


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Build a Business-Aligned IT Strategy

Build a Business-Aligned
IT Strategy

Avoid bureaucracy and achieve alignment with a minimalist approach.


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Visualize Your IT Strategy

Visualize Your
IT Strategy

Design a boardroom-ready IT strategy presentation.


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Build Your Digital Business Strategy

Your digital business strategy aims to transform the business and captures how your organization provides value in a digital era.
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Design a strategy that applies innovation to your business model, streamline and transform processes, and make use of technologies to enhance interactions with customers and employees.

  • Exploit new customer frontiers.
  • Establish resilient operations.
  • Enable continuous innovation.
  • Prepare the workforce of the future.
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Identify the Strategic Objectives of the Business

Your business context should guide your strategy and drive the actions you take.
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Understanding the business context is a must for all strategic initiatives. At its core, each digital and IT project requires answers to a specific set of questions regarding the business. Uncover:

  • Business goals.
  • Business initiatives.
  • Value streams and capabilities.
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Identify Your Strategic Initiatives

Your strategic initiatives must enable business productivity, help run an effective IT shop, and drive technology innovation.
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Business support initiatives must be directly aligned to business context outputs.
IT excellence initiatives must identify the most important and least effective processes to evolve.
Innovation initiatives must take a proactive approach to how IT can propel the business forward and offer the company a competitive advantage.

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Build Your Functional IT Roadmaps

Functional roadmaps will augment your strategy with tactical projects and outline the time, duration, effort, and resources required.
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Identifying the different functional areas within your IT organization and their respective leaders will help determine how each key initiative will impact your teams and the work involved for each team. This level of rigor and discipline to project planning can be beneficial to your team’s success in supporting strategic initiatives.

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Build Your IT Organizational Strategy

Structure follows strategy: Design your IT organization for the future.
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Your structure will dictate how roles function and how people work together to create value. It is the key enabler of your strategic direction. Define a set of organizational design principles that will act as a manifesto for change, providing a critical checklist so that structure does not devolve from the organization's strategy.

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Complete Your IT Strategy Journey

Identify Your Strategic Business Objectives

Step 1: Identify the strategic objectives of your business with a strong digital business strategy and recognition of organizational, industry, and environmental context.

Whether you’re building IT strategy from scratch or refining an existing strategy, understanding the business context is a must. Identifying the objectives of the business will guide your strategy improvements and drive the actions you take. Now is also the time to take stock of your existing IT strategy – identify gaps and check for strategic business alignment.

Use the resources below to take the first steps on your IT strategy journey.

Define Your Digital Business Strategy

A digital business strategy challenges your existing operational and value assumptions. It is a critical means to thrive in a digital-first world and addresses four fundamental goals. Define your digital business strategy by identifying opportunities to digitally transform experiences and create long-term value in an evolving social and digital landscape.

Define a digital business strategy to:

  • Digitalize ineffective enterprise tasks, procedures, and processes that are outdated, ineffective, and costly
  • Digitally transform organizational structures, cultures, business models, etc. to take optimal advantage of the enterprise tasks, procedures, and processes that have also been digitalized.
  • Become a digital business, where more than 66% of all enterprise tasks, procedures, and processes are automated.
  • Compete in the digital economy, where more than 50% of all consumer, primary, secondary, and tertiary economic activities are automated.

Review Your IT Strategy

The IT strategy is your most important document.

  • The IT strategy is the most important document to improve business alignment. Having an effective IT strategy greatly improves all business alignment key performance indicators versus a non-existent or immature IT strategy.

It’s about improvements.

  • All IT strategies can be improved over time. The most important value of this exercise is the improvements documented. This is to ensure any current-state document of your IT strategy (if it exists) is taken into consideration as part of your transformation journey.

Identify the Strategic Objectives of the Business

Context is vital to strategy.

Understanding the environment that your business operates in is critical to strategy development. The business context encompasses an understanding of the factors impacting the business. Your business context should guide your strategy and drive the actions you take.

Understanding the business context is a must for all strategic initiatives. At its core, each digital and IT project requires answers to a specific set of questions regarding the business.

Understand the nature of your organization, competition, and environment.

Learning what your competitors are doing to grow their bottom line is key to identifying how to grow your own. To successfully uncover your strategic objectives, your business context must consider organizational, industry, and environmental context.

Build a Business-Aligned IT Strategy

Step 2: Build a business-aligned IT strategy using data-driven diagnostics and develop initiatives to fulfill your mandate.

Ready to start building your strategy? Gather feedback from stakeholders to ensure a data-driven approach that serves the business, drives IT performance, and technology innovation. Don’t overlook the importance of communication – share your strategy in a highly visual and compelling presentation that that resonates with your target audiences.

Leverage our proven diagnostic tools, blueprints, and advisory services to accelerate your IT strategy efforts.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Diagnostic data is the key to building a data-driven strategy. Take a retrospective approach to measure business value realized from last fiscal year’s strategy and initiatives. Focus on IT’s successes and improvements made and communicate them back to the business. More importantly, collect the right data to conduct a current-state analysis to make data-driven decisions on what matters most for the upcoming strategy. Consider these three perspectives for making data-driven decisions.

Understand Your Mandate:

  • Establishing an alignment between the CEO and CIO means IT stays on track with the CEO’s vision for the future of your business.

Align Your Stakeholders:

  • Measuring the business’ satisfaction with IT’s services means you can use these insights to understand your key business stakeholders, find out what is important to them, and improve your interactions with them.

Evaluate Your IT Team:

  • Improving your processes means that you spend less time fighting fires and more time delivering exceptional business value

Identify Your Strategic Initiatives

A CIO has three roles: enable business productivity, run an effective IT shop, and drive technology innovation. Your key initiative plan must reflect these three mandates and how IT strives to fulfill them.

Business support initiatives must be directly aligned to business context outputs.

  • A forward-looking approach to supporting the business involves identifying the right capabilities that can underpin the coming year’s corporate projects.
  • A retrospective approach to supporting the business involves a focus on improving IT’s maturity and stakeholder satisfaction as measured over the past year.

To reduce risk and improve IT operations, identify the most-important and least-effective processes to evolve.

  • A current-state analysis approach to improving IT operations involves a focus on identifying the importance and effectiveness of our core IT process in the current state.

An industry-focused approach to driving technology innovation enables IT to look beyond what the business currently needs from us and take a proactive approach to how IT can propel the business forward and offer the company a competitive advantage.

Visualize Your IT Strategy

Audience matters

  • The audience of your IT strategy will determine its effectiveness. Cater improvements in your IT strategy to the nuances that your audience members would like to see.

If you don’t communicate it, it doesn’t exist

  • Simple, appealing, and inspirational communication makes for an effective IT strategy that shows improvement in all business alignment key performance indicators versus a non-existent or immature IT strategy.

Ruthlessly prioritize what to communicate

  • Understand the six key components of an effective IT strategy presentation that result in accurate and relevant communication to business stakeholders.

Govern & Manage Your IT Journey

Step 3: Govern and manage your IT journey with strong governance practices, functional IT roadmaps, and organizational design.

With your strategy document in hand, now the real work begins. Strong governance, oversight, and structure are key to successfully executing on your plan.

Consider the following resources to ensure and enhance the effective delivery of your strategy.

Build Your Functional IT Roadmaps

Functional roadmaps will augment your strategy with tactical projects and outline the time, duration, effort, and resources required. The strategy team is accountable for building these roadmaps, while functional leaders are responsible for executing them along with their teams.

Identifying the different functional areas within your IT organization and their respective leaders will help determine how each key initiative will impact your teams and the work involved for each team. This level of rigor and discipline to project planning can be beneficial to your team’s success in supporting strategic initiatives.

Improve IT Governance to Drive Business Results

Strong governance is key to executing on what is important on your strategic plan and keeping your team on track.

There are four elements of the governance framework:

  • Risk: Setting risk standards, appetites, profiles, exposure, and risk mitigation.
  • Project Portfolio: Decision making on the planned portfolio of strategic programs, initiatives and services.
  • Organization: Resourcing (time, effort, money)
  • Information: Data and other information to be governed for strategic priorities.

There are four attributes to govern each element of the framework:

  • Structure: Structural relationships are shown by mapping the connection between committees.
  • Authority: Each committee will have a purpose and area of decision making that it is accountable for.
  • Process: The process includes inputs, outputs, and activities required for the committee to function.
  • Membership: The individuals or roles who sit on each committee. Consider members’ knowledge, capability, and political influence

Build Your IT Budget

Your audience won’t understand the value of IT if you can’t communicate the benefit(s). An IT budgeting process must contain adequate measures to capture and communicate the benefit of IT investments. This begins with the collection of data and ends with effectively presenting the benefits IT investments will have for the business.

Identify the incremental cost of each strategic initiative:

  • Labor costs: What are the ongoing and new costs associated with the IT staff who perform work?
  • Systems costs: What are the costs associated with purchasing, developing, integrating, or maintaining any new systems or applications?
  • Contracts costs: What are the costs associated with contract workers and consultants as well as vendors for software, hardware, and other services?

Identify the breakdown of capital and operating costs for each major key initiative plan category (business support, IT excellence, innovation):

  • Capital costs: What are the new costs incurred to buy things and acquire new IT assets?
  • Operating costs: What are the costs incurred to run the IT organization and are related to the provision of services?

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