Technology has a place in traditional strategic planning of every business. This segment asks questions to help business leaders understand its role for them.
- [Instructor] In my MBA program, as well as in the professional workplace, I've had the chance to participate on more than a couple strategic planning teams, and have done numerous SWOT analyses. One of the most telling things about a SWOT analysis is what the strategic planners decide not to include. And these items usually consist of things that the business teams feel they have no control over, or that don't change the nature of their business process. The thought being that if something can't be managed in a way that makes a difference, leave it out.
Well that's sound thinking unless you're wrong. In this course, I intend to challenge the traditional thinking about the manageability of IT and demonstrate that it is either a strength or a weakness and it almost always represents an opportunity. The IT infrastructure of a company is a defining characteristic of any business in the 21st century. And should find its way into every SWOT analysis. Once you identify the role that IT plays in your company, figure out whether you as an organization are good at it.
If IT is no more than a necessary part of your infrastructure, decide whether that presents opportunities or if the state of technology in your industry is a threat to your existence. Here are some tips in figuring out where IT belongs in your SWOT analysis. First, have the conversation with the highest ranking professional in your IT department. Even the President of the United States has a Cabinet because it's not reasonable to think that one person can be the smartest person in the room on every topic.
Talk to your Chief Information Officer, even if that person is a contractor that you only see every few months, and ask what they think of the reliability and the strategic benefit of their last few projects and what ought to be on the horizon. Second, weigh what you learn against what you already know about your company in your industry. Take a look at how the leaders in your industry are using technology. What kind of technology do they have in their offices? How are they using ecommerce? What types of communication paradigms make them effective? And third, realize that I haven't really told you anything you don't already know.
If you're a business leader or on your way to becoming one, you already know this about creating an honest SWOT analysis. What I'm suggesting here is that some of your peers have written off IT as just a necessary evil. You don't need to join them. If your organization is running effectively because of your technology, use that strength to support other elements of your business. If you've made it your mission and vision to hide the digital world from your visible transactions, find out if that poses a threat.
There are a lot of small video rental store owners that thought streaming or redkiosks would never replace the face-to-face experience of getting a neighbor's recommendation while choosing a movie. As we proceed through this course, I'm going to be suggesting additional questions to ask and concepts to consider based on where you put IT in your strategic plan.
- Including IT in strategy
- What does IT bring to strategy?
- Communicating the big picture
- Selecting and evaluating the effectiveness of training and development activities
- Choosing the right hardware, platforms, and applications
- Who owns the devices?
- Site planning
- External and internal connectivity