Strategic technology management is critical to align IT and the business

Strategy & Architecture

A key finding from 3gamma’s research in innovative sourcing models is that solutions, processes, teams and vendors must be viewed as components managed as a portfolio. IT’s role as a service integrator is to make sure this portfolio can be reconfigured to meet new business requirements, or to take advantage of disruptive technologies.

This has several implications—one being the need to keep certain critical capabilities within the organisation. In the McKinsey article Developing talent for large IT projects the authors claim that the IT program manager, the business change leader and the lead IT architect should be roles maintained in-house to improve the success rate of IT-related initiatives. Another finding is that with a sound IT architecture, IT can better align solution components and applications with what’s available in the market place to unleash IT’s potential through a portfolio-based approach to IT capability acquisition and sourcing. Defining what to source is no longer just driven by internal requirements, it is also driven by what is available in the market. Being able to leverage available standards is key to adapting to change and to getting access to new functionality.

In the article The Global Innovation 1000: Proven Paths to Innovation on strategy+business, the authors discuss the difference in capability needs between companies categorised as need seekers, market readers, or technology drivers—depending on their strategic direction. For example, a company focused on inside-out innovation—pursuing a technology driver strategy—needs a specific set of capabilities and way of working to be successful that is inherently different from a company pursuing a “fast follower”, or market reader strategy.

3gamma has investigated how companies should align their technology management with their strategic logic. Our research shows that strategic technology management is key to align the underpinning IT architecture with the business model. New ways of working and innovative sourcing models are simply not enough.

In our recent article Managing technology in an ever-changing environment, co-written with IT architecture specialists Scienta, we note that it is imperative for organizations to manage their application portfolio with a strategic mind-set. Failing to align the integration architecture can impede an organisation’s ability to support the business strategy. The white paper further explains how alignment can be achieved by presenting a methodology and framework for developing an understanding of how IT relates to the organisation’s strategic logic and for defining the target IT architecture. Based on this approach, 3gamma is currently engaged in creating an IT architecture to support customer intimacy in a B2B context.

About the author

Jens Ekberg is a Director and senior IT management consultant in 3gamma. He is specialised in IT strategy, IT architecture and IT transformation. Jens works across industries supporting clients in IT-enabled business change working in the intersection between business and technology. Jens holds dual degrees in engineering and business administration.

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