Get Instant Access
to This Blueprint

Cio icon

Deliver an IT Strategy Engagement

Produce a boardroom-ready IT strategy that is aligned to your customer’s business goals and drives innovation and digital transformation.

  • Small business leaders need help creating a technology strategy that connects with their business goals.
  • Without such a strategy, business leaders are unable to see the value that their IT function is providing, relegating them to a cost-center support function only.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

In small business, it's the technology leaders who feel they're out of alignment with the business, not the other way around. From this we see that technology leaders feel they could be doing much more to support their organizations' technology initiatives and digital enablement but are being relegated to simply keeping the lights on.

Impact and Result

  • Save Time: Info-Tech Partners report saving 40-70% of the time when incorporating Info-Tech’s tools, templates, and repeatable methodology to an IT strategy engagement.
  • Reduce Effort: Info-Tech Partners report that the laborious effort of creating customized deliverables for each client is alleviated using standardized the deliverables in this blueprint.
  • Boardroom Ready: Info-Tech Partners describe that they did not have to start from scratch to build high-quality boardroom-ready deliverables, which results in saving a lot of time and focusing on result- or outcome-driven discussion with the stakeholders or management team.
  • Increased Credibility: You increase your trust and credibility with your customers and prospects when you show them who is standing behind you. Leverage Info-Tech’s brand power as a research and advisory firm to bolster your customers’ confidence in you.

Deliver an IT Strategy Engagement Research & Tools

Executive Brief – A storyboard that will help you to make a business case why your client needs to build and implement an IT strategy.

Read our concise executive brief to find out how you can deliver an IT strategy engagement that will save you time while delighting your customer.

1. Business-Aligned IT Strategy Deck – A step-by-step document that walks you through how to properly align with the business, achieve IT excellence, and drive technology innovation.

Align with the business by creating an IT strategy that documents the business context, key initiatives, and a strategic roadmap. To create a business-aligned IT strategy, you must understand what the business does and what the business will need. Only then can a carefully thought-out, strategic, and tactical plan be created for execution.

This storyboard will help you build your IT mission and vision statements and IT guiding principles, elicit business context from the CIO and the IT team, identify your key initiatives and build their profiles, construct your strategic roadmap, and evaluate your governance structures, budget, and organizational changes.

2. Business Context Interview Guide – An interview guide to help you elicit the business context by interviewing business leaders and peers.

Use this template as a starting point to interview your business leaders to elicit the business context. The goal of the interviews is to extract business goals, organizational priorities, and business initiatives that will play a critical role in building your IT strategy. Meet with your executive team and work with them to identify essential knowledge.

3. IT Presentation Template – A best-of-breed template to help you build a clear, concise, and compelling strategy document for stakeholders.

This presentation template uses sample data from "Acme Corp" to demonstrate an ideal IT strategy. Use this template to document your final strategy outputs including executive-facing business alignment and strategy highlights, key initiatives and summaries, strategic roadmap, budget proposal, IT goals and operating model, functional project roadmaps, and year-in-review data to highlight IT success stories.

4. IT Strategy Workbook – A structured tool to help you prioritize IT strategy activities and build a roadmap to ensure success.

This tool guides an IT department in planning and prioritization activities to build an effective IT strategy. This Excel workbook guides you through making key decisions regarding the visuals that should be incorporated into your final presentation document. Key activities include building a goals cascade visual that shows the relationships between business and IT goals, initiatives, and capabilities; prioritizing key initiatives using a balanced scorecard approach; and building the IT strategy roadmap using a Gantt chart visual to showcase project execution timelines.


Workshop: Deliver an IT Strategy Engagement

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Pre-Workshop: Elicit Business Context

The Purpose

Conduct analysis and facilitate discussions to uncover what business needs mean for IT and how IT plans to support the business.

Key Benefits Achieved

Build an understanding of what business needs mean for IT, the business strategy, and a clear alignment between the two.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Complete recommended diagnostic programs.

  • Diagnostic reports (CIO Business Vision, Management & Governance Diagnostic, CEO-CIO Alignment)
1.2

Interview key business stakeholders, as needed, to identify business context: business goals, initiatives, and the organization’s mission and vision.

  • IT Strategy Workbook – Business Context
1.3

(Optional) CIO to compile and prioritize IT success stories.

Module 2: Establish the Scope of Your IT Strategy

The Purpose

Define statements, principles, and goals to establish the scope of your IT strategy and assess IT’s past performance.

Key Benefits Achieved

Identify and document the scope of your IT strategy and the successes from IT’s past performance (business value realized, key milestones and successful projects, etc.).

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Review/validate the business context.

2.2

Construct your mission and vision statements.

2.3

Elicit your guiding principles and finalize IT strategy scope.

  • IT strategy scope (IT mission, vision, and guiding principles).

Module 3: Build Your Key Initiative Plan

The Purpose

Identify high-priority key initiatives to support the business, enable IT excellence, and drive technology innovation.

Key Benefits Achieved

Build your key initiative plan along with your goals cascade visual to clearly communicate business alignment back to your key initiatives.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Identify key IT initiatives that support the business.

3.2

Identify key IT initiatives that enable operational excellence.

3.3

Identify key IT initiatives that drive technology innovation.

3.4

Consolidate and prioritize (where needed) your IT initiatives.

  • List of key IT initiatives

Module 4: Build Your Key Initiative Plan (Continued)

The Purpose

Identify high-priority key initiatives to support the business, enable IT excellence, and drive technology innovation.

Key Benefits Achieved

Build your key initiative plan along with your goals cascade visual to clearly communicate business alignment back to your key initiatives.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Determine IT goals.

  • Goals cascade
4.2

Build your IT strategy roadmap.

  • Roadmap (Gantt chart)

Module 5: Define Your Operational Strategy

The Purpose

Evaluate the key components on an operational strategy that will help your team execute on your key strategic initiatives.

Key Benefits Achieved

Build a strong operational strategy to ensure IT can deliver what they promise and put in place the mechanisms to govern your journey.

Activities

Outputs

5.1

Identify metrics and targets per IT goal.

  • IT metrics and targets
5.2

(Optional) Identify required skills and resource capacity.

  • IT resourcing changes
5.3

Discuss next steps and wrap-up.

  • Next steps and strategy refresh schedule

Module 6: Document Strategy

The Purpose

Complete your strategy by building a highly visual and compelling presentation that enables easy customization and executive-facing content.

Key Benefits Achieved

Simple, appealing, and inspirational communication of your strategy to all key stakeholders is a must to ensure IT’s success.

Activities

Outputs

6.1

Complete in-progress deliverables.

  • IT strategy presentation
6.2

(Optional) Set up review time for workshop deliverables.


Partner Program Research Center

Deliver an IT Strategy Engagement

Produce a boardroom-ready IT strategy that is aligned to your customer’s business goals and drives innovation and digital transformation.

Executive Summary

IT strategies are often ineffective or non-existent for small businesses
  • According to the Info-Tech’s Management and Governance Diagnostic, 44% of small/medium businesses have an IT strategy process they feel is ineffective. (Info-Tech, Management and Governance Diagnostic; n=23)
  • Based on CEO-CIO alignment diagnostics, IT does not invest in areas that support business, and business leaders still feel that their goals are unsupported by IT. (Info-Tech, CEO-CIO Alignment Diagnostic; n=30)

IT departments that have not developed IT strategies experience misalignment between business and IT, and do not understand the value IT can provide to business.

Small business leaders and IT leaders do not share their lens with each other
  • Too often IT leaders react to IT problems and take on business challenges much like an order taker, thereby failing to proactively participate as a business partner or innovator.
  • IT’s contribution to the goals of the business are not always clear, and they are rarely recognized. IT projects do not get priority due to lack of budget or skills and get put on hold because of sudden changes to business requirements.
Follow Info-Tech’s approach to develop a strong IT strategy.
  • Use Info-Tech’s IT strategy approach to discern the business context.
  • Clearly communicate to business leaders how IT will support the organization’s key objectives and initiatives using the Strategy Presentation Template.
  • Use Info-Tech’s Prioritization Tool to help make project decisions in a holistic manner that allows for the selection of the most valuable initiatives to become part of the IT strategic roadmap.

Info-Tech Insight

An effective IT strategy will reflect three mandates to fulfill: align IT vision with business vision, identify and prioritize key issues in IT to efficiently support business, and deliver desired outcomes to achieve business goals.

Small business leaders do not know the full value that IT provides….

Info-Tech’s CEO-CIO alignment diagnostic program discloses the status of alignment between IT leaders and business stakeholders
Sample of Info-Tech's CEO-CIO alignment diagnostic program.
1. To what degree does IT invest in areas that do not support the business?
Scale with 'Aligned investment' at 1 and 'Misaligned investment' at 7. 'Business Leader' sits at 1 while 'Technology Leader' sits at 3.

2. To what degree do business goals go unsupported by IT?
Scale with 'Supports goals' at 1 and 'Does not support goals' at 7. 'Business Leader' sits at 1 while 'Technology Leader' sits at 3.

(Source: Info-Tech, CEO-CIO Alignment Diagnostic, conducted by Info-Tech Partners on their clients (n=30))

Info-Tech Insight

In small business, it’s the technology leaders who feel they’re out of alignment with the business, not the other way around (the inverse of what we see in larger enterprises). This tells us that technology leaders feel they could be doing much more for the business leaders they support but are being relegated to simply keeping the lights on.

…and see IT as just a business support function, not as a strategic business partner



How business leaders see the role of IT

Business Support Function

Most small business leaders see IT as nothing more than a trusted operator. Maintaining computers, the network, data backup and recovery….

Info-Tech maturity model of IT
The IT maturity ladder with categories from the top down, 'Innovator', 'Business Partner', 'Trusted Operator', 'Firefighter', and 'Unstable.'

How IT leaders see the role of IT

Business Enablement Function

….yet when technology leaders are in full alignment with business goals, they are truly business partners. Participating in business growth and innovation especially in increasingly digitally-enabled businesses.

“In the last several years, it has become more than evident that IT has become all about enabling the business to do what they need to do. There is not a department in any company that doesn’t use IT [in some form] to be successful.” (Sean Stillwell, Managing Director, Donyati)

Info-Tech Insight

A business-aligned IT strategy is a plan to use technology as both a support function as well as enablement function.

Your clients need a strategy, and they need your help building it

Businesses that have IT strategies in place are 3 times more likely to experience business growth!
  • According to SMB Group Report (below), only 50% of those surveyed had a strategy in place.
  • The same survey shows that 58% of those with a strategy in place reported having experienced an increases in revenue in comparison to the year prior. This group was 300% more likely to experience growth than those who had no strategy in place.
  • Whether they had a strategy or not, more than 80% of those surveyed stated they were accelerating their digital transformation initiatives following the 2020 pandemic.

IT strategy progress in small and medium businesses
Pie chart of IT strategy progress with 1 at 50%, 2 at 30%, and 3 at 20%.
(Source: 2021 SMB Technology Direction, n=761)

Yet creating an IT strategy is not a strong competency within these organizations

Sample of Info-Tech's IT Management & Governance Diagnostic, specifically the framework, with the process 'IT Strategy' highlighted 'Out of 45 core IT processes' and the note '6th in importance 22nd in effectiveness'
(Source: Info-Tech, IT Management & Governance Diagnostic, conducted by Info-Tech Partners on their clients (n=30))

Opportunities abound for IT consultants and service providers to help out!

45% of SMBs expect to increase their technology budget in 2022

65% of large enterprises expect to increase their technology budget in 2022

(Source : The 2022 State of IT)

Drivers for this increase include technology modernization, increasing cybersecurity defense, and continuing the digital transformation journey.

Leverage your Info-Tech partnership to overcome various challenges delivering an IT strategy engagement

If you are challenged with…. Then we encourage….
Inconsistent or inadequate methods to measure the current state of the IT environment Using Info-Tech’s Diagnostic Program, which assesses the client’s IT processes against our Management and Governance Framework. Sample of Info-Tech's Diagnostic Program.
Upskilling consulting staff on the delivery of an IT strategy engagement Using Info-Tech Academy, where your staff can access video-based training from Info-Tech analysts on the method of stepping through an IT strategy. Logo for Info-Tech Academy.
Boring presentations, wordy documents, or spreadsheets filled with technical details. Using Info-Tech’s prefabricated tools, templates, and boardroom-ready deliverables. Sample of Info-Tech's Strategy-on-a-Page Template.
(Source: Strategy-on-a-Page Template)

Use Info-Tech’s approach to create a data-driven IT strategy that connects to your client’s business goals

1. Establish the scope of your client’s IT strategy.

Start by stating an IT vision that meets their business mission. The IT vision should define how technology enables their business.

Steps: '01 Vision', '02 Current state', '03 Roadmap', '04 Execute'. 2. Measure business stakeholder satisfaction and identify current state of IT.

A retrospective of IT’s performance helps recognize the current state while highlighting important strategic elements to address going forward.

3. Prioritize key issues and create an improvement roadmap.

Elicit the business context, identify strategic initiatives that are most important to the organization, and build an actionable plan and strategy.

4. Execute planned IT improvements and key initiatives.

Evaluate IT’s operational strategy, which will be required to successfully execute on key initiatives.

Workshop Agenda

Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com1-888-670-8889
Session 0
(Pre-Workshop)
Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4 Session 5
(Post-Workshop)
Elicit Business Context
Establish Scope and Review IT Performance
Build Your Key Initiative Plan
Build Your Key Initiative Plan
Define Your Operational Strategy
Wrap-Up
Activities

0.1 Use industry capability map to identify business context and business goals.

0.2 Client to compile and prioritize IT success stories (optional).

1.1 Derive the IT vision statement and IT mission statement, and identify IT guiding principles.

1.2 Define the IT strategy scope.

1.3 Review diagnostic data and evaluate IT performance.

2.1 Determine goals cascade from business goals to IT goals:

  • Required IT capabilities
  • IT initiatives
  • IT goals

3.1 Prioritize your IT initiatives.

3.2 Build your roadmap.

3.3 Develop business-focused sunshine diagram.

4.1 Identify metrics and targets per IT goal.

4.2 Identify required skills and resources capacity.

4.3 Walk through budgeting approach for 1-2 IT initiatives.

4.4 Discuss next steps and wrap-up.

5.1 Complete in-progress deliverables.

5.2 Set up review time for workshop deliverables (optional).

Deliverables
  1. Business context and business goals
  1. IT vision statement
  2. IT mission statement
  3. IT guiding principles and scope
  1. List of IT initiatives
  2. Goals cascade
  1. IT roadmap
  2. IT initiative one-pagers (sample)
  1. IT metrics and targets
  2. IT resourcing changes
  1. IT strategy presentation

Info-Tech’s diagnostic programs provide valuable input to an informed strategic plan

Annually assess IT target state
  • Outline how technology should be contributing to business
  • Get feedback how the IT function is performing and supporting business
  • Turn stakeholder input data into actionable plans
  • Communicate the measurable outcomes
Sample of Info-Tech's Diagnostic Program.
Management & Governance
Assess the importance and effectiveness of IT’s core processes.
Sample of Info-Tech's CEO-CIO alignment diagnostic program.
CIO-CEO Alignment
Assess the alignment of the business stakeholders with those of the IT leaders.
Sample of Info-Tech's CIO Business Vision.
CIO Business Vision
Assess the organization’s satisfaction with the services IT provides.
Sample of Info-Tech's Strategy-on-a-Page Template.

“[The content] we use the most are the diagnostics. We've built the front-end of our engagement process with clients and are repeating annual review with certain clients around the diagnostic process” (Rick Bawcum, Founder/CEO, Cimatri)

Develop a word-class IT strategy delivery team using Info-Tech Academy

Logo for Info-Tech Academy.
Learn IT strategy from video, audio, and written content: Engaging sessions with experts translate to higher completion and better understanding of the concepts discussed.
Module 1:
IT strategy executive brief
Module 2:
Identify the target IT state
Module 3:
Assess the current IT state
Module 4:
Bridge the gap and create the strategy
  • Assign IT strategy course to team members
  • Track IT strategy course progress
  • Test IT strategy understanding
  • Earn IT strategy certificates
“We have a lot of uptake on Info-Tech Academy, and after some early success are expanding its use to our entire delivery team.” (Andy Jeffery, Principal Service Architect, Atkins)

Up your IT strategy engagement game in the following measurable ways

  • Save Time: Info-Tech Partners report saving 40-70% of the time when incorporating Info-Tech’s tools, templates, and repeatable methodology to an IT strategy engagement.
  • Reduce Effort: Info-Tech Partners report that the laborious effort of creating customized deliverables for each client is alleviated using standardized the deliverables in this blueprint.
  • Boardroom Ready: Info-Tech Partners describe that they did not have to start from scratch to build high-quality boardroom-ready deliverables, which results in saving a lot of time and focusing on result- or outcome-driven discussion with the stakeholders or management team.
  • Increased Credibility: You increase your trust and credibility with your customers and prospects when you show them who is standing behind you. Leverage Info-Tech’s brand power as a research and advisory firm to bolster your customers’ confidence in you.

“For us, we typically do IT assessments and roadmap in 6 to 8 weeks. We're able to take that 6-to-8-week timeframe and are spending maybe 40% of the time that we use to spend.

Everything from beginning to end used to be an expert-driven process. But as we brought on business analysts, we've trained to do the diagnostics. Our experts still deliver the expert opinion and core of diagnostics when needed in the discussion.

What this means for me is I used to do probably 80 or 90% of the work, now I am not doing 20% of it. We're probably reducing even business analyst effort by 50 or 60%”.

Rick Bawcum
CEO/Founder,
Cimatri

Bibliography

Ahmed, Anam. “Importance of Mission Vision in Organizational Strategy.” Chron, 14 March 2019. Accessed 10 May 2021.

“Define the Business Context Needed to Complete Strategic IT Initiatives: 2018 Blueprint - ResearchAndMarkets.com.” Business Wire, 1 Feb. 2018. Accessed 9 June 2021.

Gray, Dave. “Post-Up.” Gamestorming, 15 Oct. 2010. Accessed 10 May 2021.

“IT Guiding Principles.” Office of Information Technology, NC State University, 2014-2020. Accessed 9 June 2021.

Kark, Khalid. “Survey: CIOs Are CEOs’ Top Strategic Partner.” CIO Journal, The Wall Street Journal, 22 May 2020. Accessed 11 May 2021.

McCabe, Laurie. “SMB Technology Directions: SMB Group’s New Book.” SMB Group, April 2021. Accessed Jan. 2022.

Peek, Sean. “What Is a Vision Statement?” Business News Daily, 7 May 2020. Accessed 10 May 2021.

Richards-Gustafson, Flora. “5 Core Operational Strategies.” Chron, 8 Mar 2019. Accessed 9 June 2021.

“Team Purpose & Culture.” Hyper Island. Accessed 10 May 2021.

“The 2022 State of IT.” SWZD, Sep. 2021. Accessed Jan. 2022.

“The IT Vision: A Strategic Path to Lasting IT Business Alignment.” ITtoolkit Magazine, 2020. Accessed 9 June 2021.

“Whiteboard Rotation.” Knowmium, 13 April 2020. Accessed 9 June 2019.

Zhu, Pearl. “How to Set Guiding Principles for an IT Organization?” Future of CIO, 1 July 2013. Accessed 9 June 2021.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 5-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Pre-Project Call
  • Call #1 - Discuss business context and customize your organization’s capability map.

Guided Implementation #2 - Establish the scope of your IT strategy
  • Call #1 - Identify mission and vision statements and guiding principles to discuss strategy scope.

Guided Implementation #3 - Review performance from last fiscal year
  • Call #1 - Assess year-in-review data and evaluate performance.
  • Call #2 - Discuss diagnostic data results and success stories.

Guided Implementation #4 - Build your key initiative plan
  • Call #1 - Identify strategic initiatives and required information.
  • Call #2 - Discuss how to build your roadmap.

Guided Implementation #5 - Define your operational strategy
  • Call #1 - Discuss and identify appropriate operational strategy components.
  • Call #2 - Summarize results and plan next steps.

Authors

Brijesh Kumar

Fred Chagnon

Contributors

  • Andy Jeffery, Principal Technical Consultant, Atkins
  • Rick Bawcum, Founder/CEO, Cimatri
  • Sean Stillwell, Managing Director, Donyati
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center and our Cost Management Center
Over 100 analysts waiting to take your call right now: 1-519-432-3550 x2019