What is IT Strategy ?

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What is IT Strategy? There are some terms that are used more than they are understood. IT Strategy is one of them.

On the one hand, people mystify the term and use it with reverence. “IT Strategy” gets a great deal more respect than say “programming”. On average, IT Strategists are paid more than programmers. So the mystique is maintained and feeds its own success. On the other, the term is thrown around as if it were a commodity. From programmers to CIOs, everyone is doing “IT Strategy”! Everyone has an opinion on IT Strategy. Everyone has a definition of IT Strategy. With so many definitions of IT Strategy, it is not clear what people are “saying” and what listeners are “hearing”!The good news is that the definition of IT Strategy is not any one person’s purview. No one owns the term. However, the bad news is that one needs a clear definition of the term to get some work done.

So, what is IT Strategy?

IT Strategy is an iterative process to align IT capability with business requirements:

  • It is a process not a point in time event
  • It is iterative – success comes after multiple – do and learn – cycles
  • The key is the alignment of business and IT capability rather than designing IT to address business requirements
    – The former assumes that both capabilities drive each other
    – The latter assumes that business drives IT and not vice versa
  • IT Strategy sets direction for IT function in an organization
    – Ensures that maximum IT dollars are spent on value creation activities for the business
    – Ensures that these dollars create the maximum value

IT Strategy helps create shareholder value. In other words, it helps maximize the return on IT investments.