The IT holy grail

Strategic Alignment of IT with the declared business strategy is a topic that seems to be widely regarded as a holy grail.  Something Everyone Strives for, but seldom achieves.

In my last few roles I have encountered a number of challenges in achieving a satisfactory IT strategy:

  • A business strategy that is not published or is unclear
  • The desired role of IT in the business is unclear
  • It is unclear who the leaders in each business unit are
  • An unwillingness by IT leaders to declare a strategy – always deferring to the so-called “business”

Let’s face it, if the business strategy is clear, and is officially published, the task is not so daunting.  If however you are in an organisation that exhibits some of the above difficulties, then the task of defining an aligned IT strategy looks a little more tricky.

I firmly believe that when we are looking at the problem of an aligned IT strategy, we incorrectly try to engage our engineering skills, instead of our artisitic skills.

Now clearly there should be a balance, but I do not believe the right strategy can be defined with purely technical analysis. Lateral thinking, creative solutions, cross discipline thinking, presentation and graphic design; These are the most valuable tools.

For me, the most impactful and resonant IT strategies have been created when I have simply mulled over the business strategic problems for a period of time, and one day woken up thinking “aha – this is what IT should do to respond to those”.  I have wondered if this process could somehow be defined or mapped out, like an engineering process, but alas, lately I have come to believe it is not a process, so much as an art.  Now every artist has their own creative process, but most use the same tools: easel, paintbrush, paints etc.

So in this series I shall attempt to describe my own creative process, and also some of the tools I believe every IT strategist could employ to great benefit.

I know this blog has been dormant for some time, but I am inspired again!
2 years in the public sector are behind, and I’m back in the world of action, and results!  🙂

next time: Tools of the IT strategist.


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1 Response to The IT holy grail

  1. Hi Malcolm

    It is great to read your reviews and thoughts. Personally if I did not go to work in the morning feeling truly inspired like I am then there would be not point. INET Bridge is a high roller and is taking the market by storm. The SA market is flooded with data and very little usable information. With the POPPI Act close on our heels, it is time to bring into the market information which is readily accessible at any level from any where in the world by the ‘click of a finger’.

    Working with the best and still remaining humble is the philosophy that I have adopted. And as Henry Ford said: “you cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do”.


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