Rule # 1 is simple and complicated at the same time: No Strategy, No IT Investment..
Another way to say this is, “Drive IT investment with strategy.”
Some people hear this to mean, “I never have to update my IT unless there is a business strategy reason for it.” Literally, that’s what it does mean, but there are two types of business strategy that relate to IT.
First, there are IT-strategic items. Things like reliability, backup, security, speed, and compatibility with software applications. These are strategic items just like business strategy items.
Second, there are business strategic issues. These include things like meeting vendor or customer requirements (for example, RFID or EDI), increasing accuracy (to elimate charge-backs), increasing efficiency (doing more work with the same staff), increasing space utilization (in a warehouse, for example), or simply communicating better with customers, staff, and vendors.
Both of these areas of strategy (IT and business) are key; ignore either at your peril. How does this save money?
Here’s a list of things that are not strategic reasons to invest in IT:
- A new version is out, we need to have the latest version.
- My IT Outsource firm said we need to update.
- New systems would be faster.
- The vendor has a list of new features; we’re sure we need them.
- Because the IT department wants to upgrade (new toys)
As a technology enthusiast, I can tell you that “new toys” are a powerful draw. As a business person, I often say “No” to some toys in order to be able to say “Yes” to some toys that will improve my business.
Rule #1: No Strategy, No IT Investment.