What are the goals of IT

IT strategy in the company: tips for the first steps

Regardless of whether you are an SME or a large corporation: Due to increasing digitalization, nothing works in a company without IT for a long time. A strategic IT management should basically be an important part of the overall strategy of the company, since the success and growth of a company depend to a large extent on it. In this article we show what you need to consider when developing an IT strategy. You will also find out which sub-areas this is made up of and why it is actually a continuous and dynamic process.

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1. The basics for developing an IT strategy

The IT strategy is a central element of IT management and is based on corporate goals and customer requirements.

Nowadays, a valid corporate strategy can no longer do without a suitable IT strategy, because it ensures that the company is supplied with individually adapted hardware and software. The IT strategy is part of the corporate strategy and is derived from the general corporate goals and the existing corporate processes.

It is also geared towards the requirements of the entire company and its customers and takes into account not only all corporate areas involved (e.g. production, sales, logistics, HR, finance, purchasing) but also new trends and innovations. For this reason, it is also one of the central elements of IT management.

The IT strategy consists of 5 sub-areas:

  • The Infrastructure strategy includes the technological basics, such as hardware, operating system and networks.
  • The Application strategy deals with applications and software to support business processes and to increase their performance.
  • The Innovation strategy identifies and evaluates new basic technologies, trends and innovations and their benefits for corporate success.
  • The Sourcing strategy uses the value chain in the company to check which areas can be covered by IT itself and which must be outsourced. Mixed forms are also possible in principle (e.g. in-house operation, outsourced maintenance).
  • The Investment strategy is derived from the four individual strategies mentioned and describes how these can be implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Constant controls and reviews of IT and its processes ensure that development actually takes place in accordance with the specifications. The IT strategy is always the responsibility of the top management level.

1.1. The central goals of the IT strategy

The IT strategy makes a significant contribution to the medium to long-term achievement of corporate goals.

An IT strategy essentially has four goals:

  • Presentation of a framework for efficient IT management within a company
  • Definition of the direction and scope of the activities to be performed
  • Contribute to the medium to long-term achievement of corporate goals
  • Creation of a high value chain in the company through the best possible use of IT

2. The 5 phases of IT strategy development

The development and implementation of an IT strategy in the company take place in different phases, which we explain to you in detail in this section.

2.1. Phase 1: Analysis of the current situation

With the help of workshops and surveys, the current situation can be determined from the perspective of the organization.

The first step in strategic development is a comprehensive analysis of the current state of information technology in the company and in the individual areas. This takes into account both internal and external factors and includes the organizational structure and the process flow as well as the range of services. The basis is a determination of the position, with the help of which the need for action and potential restrictions can be identified.

In addition, this phase also serves to assess the current maturity of IT from the point of view of the organization. To this end, workshops and surveys are carried out with company management, department heads and representatives of the departments.

2.2. Phase 2: Definition of the goals

On the basis of the situation analysis, the IT goals are defined, which are derived from the company goals. Based on this, the strategic direction is then specified.

On the one hand, this represents an orientation aid and a framework, but at the same time also restricts the freedom of action with regard to projects and maintenance measures. The cornerstones of the strategic direction (e.g. strengthening customer loyalty, quality optimization) are usually adjusted once a year or as part of major changes.

Good to know: The derivation of the IT goals from the corporate goals must be comprehensible, as this is the only way to check conformity with corporate strategy.

2.3. Phase 3: Development of a TARGET state

The IT security management is also subjected to a precise examination as part of the target status development.

The third phase is devoted to the development of a TARGET state, which is adapted to the needs of the company and serves to fulfill the previously defined (company) goals. This includes the identification and analysis of current IT trends, relevant technical requirements and sourcing strategies as well as an examination of the current portfolio and the program and project management. In addition, there is also a Survey of the existing personnel resources (including advanced and advanced training) and a Examination of IT security management.

In the past, the target state for the software / hardware architecture (e.g. organization, processes, applications) was described in the IT strategy. Due to the increasing requirements with regard to flexibility, static TARGET states are no longer aimed for, but solutions are defined that allow dynamic adjustments.

2.4. Phase 4: formulation, elaboration and implementation

At the end of the 4th phase, the right strategy is selected and implemented.

The next step is the formulation and elaboration of an IT strategy with which the desired target state can be achieved. It must be clarified which activities (“options for action”) are required for thiswhich systems and resources are required and how they are to be prioritized or procured.

Furthermore, measures are defined to adapt the existing hardware and software to the needs of the company.At the end of this phase, the IT strategy is selected and officially adopted.

Good to know: Smaller strategy changes (e.g. standardization) that can be implemented relatively quickly and with little effort are referred to in technical jargon as "quick wins". Larger adjustments, on the other hand, have to be implemented as projects within the framework of IT project management.

2.5. Phase 5: Continuous implementation

After the IT strategy has been adopted, the last thing it does is anchoring it through consistent and continuous implementation of the steps and guidelines set out in it.

3. The benefits of a good IT strategy

How much benefit an IT strategy ultimately brings to the company depends on its orientation and the structure of the organization in terms of budget and flexibility. Nevertheless, the concept has a number of advantages:

  • More transparency in company processes, better controllability
  • Increase in productivity and cost optimization through more efficient use of IT
  • Elimination of weak points, stabilization of operations and minimization of IT risks (which results in higher investment security)
  • Development of new business areas
  • Adherence to compliance requirements and achievement of long-term corporate goals
  • Improved support and thus greater satisfaction among customers and employees

4. With advice on the right strategy

External consultants keep an eye on IT as a whole and, if required, support you on site in developing a suitable strategy.

The development and implementation of an IT strategy is a very time-consuming and resource-demanding process and, especially in a dynamic environment, requires consistent and at the same time flexible framework conditions. Many companies reach their limits internally during implementation and therefore use the services of external consultants.

You can now find the right consultant for every requirement profile on the market. Whether these IT service providers look after Hamburg, Berlin, other cities or rural regions or even operate nationwide can often be found out with a simple look at the website.

IT service providers manage your projects on request and ensure that your IT can keep up with the steadily growing technological progress. Strategy consultants support you on site in the development and maintenance of your IT infrastructurer, the optimization of software and processes and offer recommendations in relation to organization and business processes.

When choosing a consultant, you should always make sure that they have the Information technology as a whole keeps an eye on. On top of that, he must be able to link this to your business strategy.

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IT strategy in the company: tips for the first steps
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