There is a disconnect between how departments use and leverage technology, and how companies manage IT. IT provides a suite of tools to support the business, no different from the hammers, saws and drills used by carpenters. The challenge comes when IT is used to dictate how a business develops and implements their strategy.
IT Serves Strategy
Long gone are the days when IT functionality meant email and print. Departments are looking for tighter integration with their IT.
IT is a tool to push the business strategy forward. It can automate workflow, test new concepts or applications, enhance communications, or even increase sales processing.
A disconnect occurs when IT is placed before strategy. When a business unit does not have ownership over the tools and systems they use, they are forced to make decisions with limited resources. The tools may work, but they could be inefficient, clunky and limited.
Symptoms of Putting IT Before Strategy
IT isn’t cheap. Costs range from tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for a mid-market company.
Selecting IT products and programs before developing the strategy for the business and its business units can be costly:
1. Excessive overhead: If IT doesn’t serve the business units properly, the applications can become redundant or insufficient. These investments not only waste internal resources, they often force departments to seek outside vendors to fill in the gaps.
2. Lost productivity: The wrong tools and systems cause employees to be less productive. IT should support business functions seamlessly.
3. Lack of scalability: Miscalculated IT infrastructure investments may become stunted, because the IT plan could not anticipate the needs of the departments.
Empower the Functions
IT is a powerful asset when departments have a voice. Get your business units involved in the strategic planning process, and highly aware of how IT will support their strategies. IT performs best when it is serving the strategy.