This blog is 500 words of me telling you why you’re not strategic enough with your IT.
If you’re reading this and thinking it doesn’t apply to you, think again – you’re probably not as strategic as you think.
It’s time to help your IT team become more strategic and less tactical, so they can stop fighting fires and struggling to keep technology running and start focusing on the big picture.
Why you’re not as strategic as you think
Can you really tell me that you (and your team) haven’t gotten bogged down lately, picking up support tickets, worrying about updates and remote working, getting involved in tasks you shouldn’t be? Can you honestly tell me that your senior IT staff aren’t losing 90% of their working week to the same tasks?
All of this means you’re likely making decisions based on fixing immediate problems, or trying to create short-term gains.
How do I get back to thinking strategically?
Start remembering that it’s not all about cost, it’s about ROI – IT needs to be about future proofing, creating agility and security, and understanding the direction your industry is heading (if I could predict this for you I would, but this article’s wordcount won’t stretch that far).
It’s about solving future problems, not just today’s problems – it’s easy to hunt for the fastest option that provides ROI right now, but you might need to think about what happens in three years, five years, or even further. You need to think about adapting and protecting.
Focus on creating great foundations with IT & tech that you can build on, so you can take advantage of innovations as and when they come.
Enough talk – here’s my top tips:
- Have a vision – Think about your end goal – what’s the ideal scenario? Know what you want, then you can start thinking about how to get there.
- Challenge your ideas – Challenge your thinking – start wondering where your own beliefs and judgements might be impacting business decisions, and think about how you could do things differently. Speak to your team and really listen, so you can see different points of view.
- Learn to focus on value, not cost (within reason!). Make sure pricing isn’t influencing your decisions too heavily, otherwise you’ll struggle to grow. It’s not always just the initial cost that matters, it’s the ROI.
- Identify bottlenecks (usually people and tech!) and work on removing them – you may even find that you yourself are one of the biggest bottlenecks. Remove these and you’ll be freeing up a lot of room for growth and success.
- Embrace change – There will be a period of discomfort as you transition between fighting fires and focusing on the bigger picture. Change is hard, and you’ll no doubt have lots of misgivings about the whole venture – after all, if you step back from daily tasks, who’s going to take care of everything!? That’s what your team and suppliers are there for; trust them to take control of the details for you.
- Get with the program – make sure you understand your senior leadership teams’ vision so you can align business and tech goals – you don’t need to know every step of the journey, but you sure as hell need to know where you’re going.
- Get visible – research shows IT & tech leaders are struggling to be heard at a senior level, but technology provides too much competitive advantage for you to be shut out of meetings. Make sure your voice is heard and you’re involved in wider business strategy.
Some of this may feel obvious, but I’m not really trying to teach anything new here – just remind you of what you already know.
If you found this useful, I’m releasing another blog soon – this time with more of a practical focus on how you should start planning for modern management, and how you can actually get some strategic planning down on paper.
In the meantime we’ve released our internal modern management framework to help you get started – check it out here.
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