The CIO’s Guide to Creating an Effective IT Strategy

iStock-519434666
Mark Britton
by Mark Britton 26 June 2019

A reliable IT strategy starts with a plan. Whether you are crafting an IT strategy from scratch or retooling an existing structure, aligning with business goals and understanding the needs of your team can impact your success.

So where do you start?

Chief information officers know that IT strategy is often derived from an assessment of needs and goals. Once you have that information, you are ready to get started.

Create a Team

A business IT strategy starts with the team behind it. Look at current and future capabilities and build a team that has the expertise to meet those needs. Build a team from existing staff and change or create positions and roles for evolving business needs.  

Think about your customer base. Does the information technology team serve internal clients, external clients, or both? Also, consider the needs of each of these customer bases so that you can implement strategies and use tools that can take care of their needs.

Connect IT to Business Goals

IT goals are most effective when they relate to bigger business goals. How does your IT strategy support overall business development and growth?

The answer might surprise you.

Traditional thinking is that IT is there to support the staff. But in today’s business environment, IT ties to almost every part of a business, from ensuring systems are functional to providing the right customer experiences online to making sure payments process through secure servers.

When developing your IT strategy, look at the bigger picture for your business and think about how your team can shape and help the company meet those goals.

Include internal and external customers in strategic planning and don’t forget to consider using integrated systems or automated tools.

Focus on Your Customers

An IT team can have customers within the business or serve actual clients. Use customer engagement apps to best connect with either type of customer base.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 includes the ability to create xRM apps with the ability to extend customer databases, work with financial information, and operational functions. Developers on your IT team can use xRM tools for rapid app development for a variety of functions.

Microsoft tools can also help you create and design apps for external customers, and tools can connect with existing systems for rapid prototyping and deployment.

It Must Be Collaborative

An effective IT strategy is collaborative. Teams can chat, share files, and work in common apps in a workspace that’s manageable and easy to understand. Collaboration extends beyond IT employees so that anyone in the company can communicate in the same way.

Microsoft Teams includes all of this functionality and more. Use it as a hub for teamwork or to schedule meetings or communicate with remote workers, and send emails and use calendars to connect. Plus, all the tools work from anywhere on any device.

While thinking about an IT strategy can be intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Start with an assessment, then create a team that can align IT and business goals, focus on customer needs, and collaborate.

Crimson has tools to jumpstart your IT strategy. Book a talk and find out how we can support your IT team or come to one of our free workshops.

Topics: Technology Strategy, IT strategy, IT and business goals, information technology strategy, chief information officer strategy