IT Strategy, The Current Paradigm
Business Cycles have become notoriously short and so have the Technology cycles which inexorably follow Moore's Law. As a matter for conjecture, Business change may be getting prompted by Technology change which is inevitable. In this fast changing scenario what is the value of an IT Strategy?
Traditionally IT Plans have been made to look as if they are driven by business imperatives. So we have all the high decibel jing bang of Business Strategy, Competitive Analysis, Value Chain Study, Technology Opportunities, Data Modelling and so on. The Outcome usually is a Matrix of Applications and Functions which are then prioritized into an Implementation Plan running into a few years.
Does this straightjacket the organizational ability and need to remain flexible and responsive to unforeseen developments in the business and technology environments?
Not necessarily so! If we remember that technology will change and keep becoming evermore affordable, it is possible to draw the contours of the shape of things to come in the next five to 10 years. Direction papers from various technology leaders give a good sense of what is coming.
The real issue may be that the CIO's and CTO's do not take enough pain to keep themeselves abreast of what is likely to happen in the near to medium term future.
Most CIO's and CTO's have are content to play a glorified Paurchase Manager's role where they enjoy negotiating with Technology Vendors and like ordinary purchase managers derive some sense of esteem and self worth out of being in the decision maker's chair for huge orders.
It is indeed rare to find CIO's who are engrossed by their preoccupation about the vison for future and even if there are some such endangered species around their views are quickly muffled by the CEO's who do not have the mental stamina to ideate about disruptive changes brewing over the horizon.
The fact that the product and business cycles are short and are largely driven by rapid Technology developments directly or indirectly is not reason enough to stop thing about the future and inded is an opportunity for those who have the talent and capacity to accurately foresee the shape of things to come. Let us not give up just yet.