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Is there a silver bullet IT Strategy June 4, 2012

Posted by Mich Talebzadeh in Uncategorized.
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This is about IT strategy and most of the guys that I know have had many years of IT experience. This industry is sharply divided between doers and watchers. The leaders and strategists are the ones that make head waves and usually they know what they want. However, the big obstacles seem to be organizations that we work in.

As a consultant I have been  to many sites that the IT managers and directors have little or no inclination to move IT in a pragmatic way. For most of them the status quo is just fine. In other words they toe the line and they speak the official language. However, as a result the enterprise suffers. I believe there is a culture that values loyalty more than capability. This in turn results in a rigid environment where changes are seldom accepted. Moreover, the IT strategists background is always favored towards a certain product, since, presumably, the manager feels more comfortable with a given product. That is hardly any strategy for progress.

It is also interesting to know that the average employee loyalty to a given firm is two to three years and more often these days people change jobs than before. Any long term vision or strategy is nonexistent chiefly because the IT director has a different agenda for himself/herself, ending up in a lame duck strategy.

I have seen too often that organizations bring in someone (say a new director) from outside (usually the director will tell you that he/she was headhunted for the job!). The pattern is always similar. Let us cut cost, streamline the processes (meaning get rid of few people), bringing in the outsourcing (usually they now few firms in South Asia who they have worked with before) and we can reduce the projects’ lifecycle drastically. There is usually an announcement of some town hall meeting or soap box meeting with video conferencing and large participation by the staff of all type. Mind you the staff were told to attend. Then we have the director giving his/her vision of things to come and IT strategy for the next two years. The figures shown on their favorite Power point projection are impressive. That is until such time that you start asking questions about these figures. The graphs do not add up or skewed too much. The IT director will have difficulty in explaining these figures. Otherwise he/she will tell you that a particular graph is not normalized. You shake your head with disbelief knowing that most of the stuff are downloadable/downloaded from the web. The director has difficulty explaining because he does not believe those figures either. Let us face it, how long it takes to formulate a project strategy. It does not happen overnight, a week, a month or a quarter. I am at loss to understand how these so called IT gurus are going to make it happen? BTW, they are usually pretty good at making cliché type statements. Gone few months you hear that the IT director has left the firm without delivering anything at great cost to the company without any value add. I am at loss to see why this industry is following this trend. Is that because the IT industry unlike some disciplines like civil engineering is still very much evolving? As strategists what are the great unknowns in IT? In my view there is no revolutionary solution. It is only evolutionary. A company’s IT strategy can only evolve through sound leadership and decision making. More importantly the IT strategy has got to be fit for the underlying business.

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