Most of the 'senior managers' of the companies and organisations I worked with in the past 20 to 25 years, have very simple principles when it comes to decision making on Information Technology. It summarizes to the following:
"when we do what most other companies and organizations within our industry do, we are probably okay"
- "let's take this popular ERP software package, it will probaly cover all our requirements"
- "let's outsource the whole lot, because they know more about it than we do"
- "when ...<fill in the name of your favorite consultancy firm>......... says so, it will be okay"
- "my little nephew can deal with this IT stuff very well, so it cannot be that difficult, now can it?"
However, the IT manager/CIO thinks that there must be a "Master-plan", so complete 'strategic studies' and 'change programs' are set up with all kinds of subject matter experts from outside the company producing fat 'PowerPoint packages' full of terminology that nobody dares questioning. Most of these packages end up in some drawer. And one year, endless 'off premise workshops' and way too many steering committee meetings later there are still no cost-savings visible. Of-course this was not the fault of our organisation, but of all these expensive boys and girls from outside that were involved.
"and in the meantime I still cannot use my iPad"
It's today's dilemma of many managers/CEO's in medium and large organizations / companies.
Do you recognize this?
If so, I have two questions for you:
- if your companies strategy would be "let's do what most other companies and organizations within our industry do" would your company be alive for a long time?
- why would that be a good IT strategy then?
Maybe we need to take a closer look at the above mentioned decision making principles.
Maybe we need the guts to rethink the role of IT in our organization.
Maybe we need to take a closer and more in depth look at this (IT) jargon of these boys and girls.
In my opinion "Decision making on IT" must always be based on:a shared view on the added value of IT for the business of today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
Such a shared view results into one strategy and one structure of the company and its IT. There is no company without IT and no IT without a company, the two are inseparable.
When I adress topics regarding decision making on IT, I try to structure my knowledge and terminology into a framework. My 'knowledge framework' consists of three main areas that together provide for the basic knowledge needed for decision making:
Strategy and policies:
This is about:
- defining a shared view on the added value of IT to the business.
- defining and maintaining a strategy for the business and its IT
- defining and maintaining the policies / decision making principles that are used for applying Information and Information Technology.
Architecture and implementation:
This is about:
- developing and maintaining blueprints for structuring the business and the IT based on the defined strategy
- defining and maintaining policies / decision making principles that are used for structuring and implementing Processes, Information and Information Technology.
Portfolio & Performance Management:
The IT portfolio contains all IT services and projects that together realize the defined stategy and architecture. Managing this portfolio is about:
- the day-to-day decision making on projects and services
- measuring the performance of IT and staying in control.