In this newsletter we’ll briefly discuss why it is extremely useful to narrow down your IT Strategy down to a small number of key themes.
Complexity (in the simplest usage of the word) breeds complexity, complex businesses with complex operating models, rules and systems often breed complex IT systems and organisations. When we undertake discovery and analysis to start developing an IT Strategy that complexity can often feel overpowering, ‘how am i going to address all of these issues?’, ‘how am i going to explain my strategy to myself let alone my stakeholders?’
The best way I have found of dealing with this is to start really early on in the strategy development process to start making note of key recurring themes that fall out of your Discovery and Analysis. This isn’t about simplifying your strategy, or ignoring the reality of the complexities of your business or IT, it is about helping reinforce for yourself what is important to then be able to start replaying the key themes to your stakeholders.
Identifying the key themes isn’t rocket science, it’s just dependent on you listening effectively to your stakeholders, reflecting on what you’ve learnt and then synthesizing information from multiple sources into your key themes. Say for example, during your Discovery you keep hearing complaints about the inaccessibility and poor quality of data and insight within your organisation, that is impacting the companies ability to compete or when you question senior stakeholders about their goals and targets they are unable to quantify KPIs or progress, then these might be good clues that a key theme for your strategy might be around Data. Some key things i’ve found useful to bear in mind:
- Start identifying your key themes early, like as soon as you start talking to stakeholders during Discovery
- Take early opportunities to test out what you think are the emerging strategic themes with your colleagues and stakeholders
- Don’t fall in love with your themes to early, hold them loosely and be prepared to let them go if your Discovery, Analysis, stakeholder feedback or other influence informs your thinking in a new direction
- Think about your themes as components in a compelling, internally consistent and mutually supportive narrative that of the impact your Strategy will have on the organisation’s customers and people
Course, Newsletter and Podcast
In my upcoming How to IT Strategy Course we will go into more detail about how you can create a great IT Strategy. You can sign up here for early access to the course when it launches and an early bird discount.
You can subscribe to this Newsletter so you don’t miss out on the next instalments. If audio is more your thing you can get the companion ‘How to IT Strategy Podcast on Anchor, Spotify , Apple Podcasts and all major Podcast Platforms.