2.2. Overview of Corporate Strategy in Today's Environment
If you're an avid reader of online IT news, blogs, etc., you may have read a lot in the past year or so about "aligning IT with corporate strategies."That concept is well-intended, but stops just short of the target. Certainly, any IT department out-of-step with its company's strategies is in jeopardy, but the issue is deeper and wider than that. The issue is not simply whether or not IT aligns with corporate strategies or not, but how IT initiatives can drive (or at least contribute to) corporate strategies and perhaps provide competitive advantage. That's a slightly different take on the current alignment discussion, but in order for IT to be seen as a valued-added component of the business, it has to do more than jump in line with the corporate strategies (though, admittedly, that alone would be a big improvement for some). From a corporate viewpoint, it's fair to say that if your IT initiatives are not aligned with your business initiatives, your company will be in serious trouble within a few years. Technology is increasingly an integral part of the business environment. How well and how fast your firm can implement technology to drive efficiency is what will separate companies. Technology touches every part of the business today. Not only are internal functions dependent upon technology, but increasingly, customers want to reach directly into your company to get the data they want or need. It used to be that the customer might call you and ask for information on financial transactions for the previous quarter. Now the customer wants to be able to log into a secure server and grab the information in real time. Couple that with the fact that the lone employee in a remote part of the world needs to be just as connected as those at corporate headquarters and you begin to understand not only how pervasive technology has become, but also how integral it is to the company's success.
In this chapter, we're going to explore these issues so you can navigate through the sometimes confusing world of corporate strategies and ultimately, corporate IT funding. If you're not a business or finance type person or you think this topic is really boring, then this chapter is a must-read for you. The information presented will make you smarter about how companies work without boring the daylights out of you.