Technology’s Impact on Your Strategic Plan

Ashley Chambliss
two laptops with hands with a pencil and pen working on plans

Strategy and planning are vital to running a successful organization, and you’re already spending a exorbitant amounts of time and energy on your strategic plan each year. In a recent survey, executives ranked technology as their #1 investment, yet it was listed as #8 priority ranking it below hiring, productivity and execution, financial management, capital/cash management, performance management/HR and employee engagement. (2021 Vistage Quarterly Business Review) It appears that across business executives’ focuses, priorities are not entirely aligned with spending.  

With IT being ranked as such a low priority, it begs the question “are business owners simply doing IT change projects or are they doing business change projects that leverage technology to create the change desired?” 

There should be no such thing as just an IT project. Technology does get old and should be upgraded, but too often money is spent on simply making the old new, when instead intentional business changes that unlock new productivity will allow you to support more revenue per employee. 

In a nutshell, focusing IT on creating intentional business change in alignment with the strategic plan should be the goal, not just continually upgrading the old to the new. 

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Business Approaches to IT 

How is IT connected to the strategy of your business?  Has IT been enabled to be strategic for you? There are two main approaches to IT, tactical and strategic. They have similar characteristics, but the key differences are determined by the outcome of each. Do we have a tactical or strategic approach to IT today? Here are some characteristics to help you determine which approach you have: 

Characteristics of the Tactical approach 

  • IT is viewed as an expense to cost-control 
  • IT is overseen by Finance 
  • IT is consumed fixing and installing things 
  • Technology changes are ad-hoc or not aligned with the company’s long-term plans 

Characteristics of the Strategic approach 

  • IT is viewed as an asset with a known ROI  
  • The IT leader is a peer on the Executive Team 
  • IT is focused aligning to security and productivity best practices 
  • Technology changes are planned, budgeted and align with the company’s long-term plans 

Which of these two approaches characterizes your current IT strategy? Is IT viewed as an expense to cost control OR IT is viewed as an asset with a known ROI? Is IT overseen by Finance OR is the IT leader a peer on the Executive Team? Is IT consumed with fixing and installing things OR is IT focused aligning to security and productivity best practices? Are Technology changes ad-hoc or not aligned with the company’s long-term plans OR are Technology changes planned, budgeted and aligned with the company’s long-term plans? 

Knowing these fundamental characteristics to the different IT approaches can chart the course down your strategic path, and an IT expert in a Fractional CIO can get you there. If you are not currently implementing IT in your strategy, the Thriveon team supplies a dedicated CIO to you to join your strategic team to guide the process.  

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