January 19, 2018 Stewart Marshall

I Meant Strategy, Not “Strategy”

In The Beginning

My first post here was all about whether you have an IT Strategy?. One of my clients read this, and it lead to a conversation, a precis of which went something like this.

Him: “Shouldn’t I have a large document detailing my IT strategy?”

Me: “Do you really want one. You have my report on how we can meet your objectives.”

Him: “I know, but I would have thought that a strategy document would contain all of the proposals, costs, technical bits and so on and so forth that one might associate with an IT strategy.”

Me: “When I said strategy, I didn’t mean “strategy“. These are much like religious texts in my opinion. I find they tend to lead to dogmatic thinking. And dogmatic thinking, typically means the subtlety and nuance of reality gets lost. The important thing with all IT strategy is that it aligns with your business goals, and that’s what the my report relays. It talks specifically about what you’re looking to achieve and outlines ways in which your IT can help realise this.”

Him: “Riiiight…sooooo…I don’t need a detailed strategy document then.”

Me: “If you want to pay me to write one, I can”

Him: “Noooo…I think your report will do just fine”

Foreign Language

And that’s the point isn’t it?

Is a pinpoint strategy worth the cost of writing it?

Strategy (and that’s the last time I’m ever going to use that word…hopefully) in IT is something that all too often is taken far too seriously. IT directors and managers spend weeks or even months writing heaps of technical stuff in a document, only for it to be met with blank faces.

The problem is that senior IT people often get caught up in the world of technology and once they do this, they might as well be speaking in tongues.

Sadly, Google Translate doesn’t have an option for Gibberish to English.

Prag not Dog

What’s really required then is a little pragmatism. Rather than slavishly adhering to the whims of technology, we can make our IT lives so much simpler by making sure we’re targetting the needs of the business.

Why?

Two reasons

Firstly, the business will already have a strategy and surely we don’t need two.

And secondly, BECAUSE THE BUSINESS PAYS THE BILLS!

So if your IT looks after the business’ needs, the business will look after the needs of IT.

What a beautiful symbiosis.


Today’s Top Takeaway

Keep it simple. IT is a means to an end, not the end itself.


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