Strategic IT

Strategic IT is the mix of management, organisational structures, workflows, systems and software which come together to define an organisation’s ability to use technology in a positive way.

It may be that you have a project which you think only affects one of these areas – such as moving to Teams, changing your accounting software or recruiting for a new IT post – but it’s important to ensure that the unavoidable shockwaves from the change you’re making can be cushioned by the people and structures around it.

While IT is often thought of on an individual level – each user getting access to services and support according to their need – IT is far more about taking ownership and providing leadership for underlying workflows, communication and collaboration.

I can offer my skills, experience and insight to help and guide your strategic IT projects. Whether I’m researching and implementing specific systems, or creating new staffing structures and assisting with recruitment, I insist on taking a holistic approach to make sure everything slots into place and the whole organisation benefits.

A broad interpretation of Conway’s Law is that an organisation’s output is often defined by its internal structures. Technology plays such a fundamental role in those structures that by thinking strategically about resources and direction a well managed and supported IT department can help a business thrive both inwardly and outwardly.

People – even the most able – need to operate within organisational structures that give them the space to fully understand and engage with the business. Technology staff are particularly at risk from becoming siloed, and this can lead to a loss of trust and an inability to collaborate on both sides.

As with any department, if IT is sidelined or viewed as a separate “service provider” then it will not have sufficient engagement or leadership to provide a genuinely useful set of tools and support to staff.

Technology – even the most perfectly implemented system – is useless if it doesn’t make someone’s job easier. The primary goal of IT is to quietly but powerfully enable users, not to be an end in itself.

It is a mistake to think technology alone can be used to effect organisational or behavioural change. Although IT can be key to such transformations, only an approach which gives priority to helping people understand and adapt to change will work.

Systems – even ones which look brilliant on paper – are useless unless they are implemented in a way which can gel with the rest of an organisation. Where the edges of different workflows rub together, there is friction.

Getting the balance right between departmental and organisational requirements is a delicate act. It’s possible to use technological glue to provide a wider range for that balance point to sit, but only by proceeding carefully and always making sure to put people first.

Features – no matter how much Wow! factor they have – are rarely useful in isolation, and often require retooling many other workflows and systems in order that the benefits outweigh the costs. When thinking about introducing new systems or software into an organisation it’s important to find a high vantage point to take a holistic and strategic view on the best way forward.

When Google Docs first allowed co-authoring it seemed like a miracle, but without re-tooling the entirety of an organisation’s IT to embrace the Google ecosystem then document management suddenly became very hard: the filing system went from carefully organised folders to finding the right link buried in an old email.