ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY
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Technology underpins a huge part of today’s global economy, with ever-increasing numbers of organizations establishing themselves as tech companies, or at a minimum, utilizing software technology and online commerce for large portions of their business operation. As businesses grow in size, the suite of technology assets they depend on scales with them - along with spiralling complexity and maintenance costs. These downsides result in larger inertia to change, meaning businesses become slow to adapt to market forces and can expend great cost attempting and failing to capture new opportunities.
Defining and executing a technology strategy is key to addressing these issues, enabling technology to be a helper rather than a hindrance in delivery business success. It is important to map out which technology capabilities are core to a business, how cost-effective they are to maintain, how they can best be combined and repurposed to expose additional value, as well as where any gaps may lie when looking to fulfill the wider business goals. Analyzing a business’s existing technology landscape to extract such information and planning around how to reach the intended state can reveal areas where capabilities are duplicated or costly to maintain - areas where investment is better diverted to implementing more cost-effective replacements as well as filling gaps where capabilities may be missing.
With an effective technology strategy in place, businesses can ensure they are making best use of their technology assets in supporting their current and future activities, as well as allowing greater agility in adapting to changing markets and the pursuit of new opportunities.
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Technology Strategy vs Business Strategy
Technology and business strategies are tightly coupled - a technology strategy exists to support a business strategy, and increasingly so in today's world, a business strategy cannot be executed without the help of a technological underpinning. For companies in the technology industry, there may be no differentiation between the two types of strategy. In all cases, a technology strategy exists to support and implement the overall business strategy through the most effective use of software processes and capabilities.
Aligning Technology With Strategy
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Enterprise Technology Consulting FAQs
A technology strategy is a plan for how technology resources (particularly software systems and the capabilities they expose) can be implemented and exploited to best achieve the wider business objectives. Technology strategies detail the set of high-level objectives that the technology division strives for in support of the business, details on the most effective means and methods of how the objectives can be met, as well as framing of all assumptions made as part of the planning process. A successful technology strategy should be understandable by all stakeholders across technology and business leadership, and have buy-in from all parties. It also needs to be disseminated across a business's technology division so that all employees are aware of the wider goals and how best to achieve them within their day to day work.
Usage of software technology is a major factor in the profitability of many businesses today, particularly for businesses dealing with information as their primary product. Increasing numbers of businesses can be classed as technology companies in terms of where significant portions of their costs are allocated, such as payroll for technology staff and infrastructure costs to run the software that delivers customer value. It is critical that firms of all sizes realize the importance that efficient use of software and related technologies has to the ongoing health of their business - and in not doing so, the significant wastes of investment, time and resources that can result.
Technology divisions need to work closely with their business partners to understand what the overall business strategy is, including the rationale behind it. With this framing in place, technology leaders can formulate a plan around how to assemble a suite of technology assets and capabilities in the most efficient manner possible that aligns with and supports success of the business strategy. Several key pieces of information are required in this process. A full inventory of existing technology systems and the capabilities they offer will provide a set of puzzle pieces that can be combined into solving the needs of the business. Gaps are likely to be encountered, where existing capabilities are incomplete or missing entirely - for these, objectives need to be stated on how the gaps can be most effectively filled. This may include options to evaluate and purchase third-party solutions; or, for capabilities that will support unique selling propositions of the business, plans on how the missing capabilities can be created and maintained in-house. All these factors need to be balanced with available or desired technology resources, meaning the most effective organizational structure of the technology division that will implement and maintain the technology asset suite. Cost management is another critical factor in finding a balanced strategic path forward.
Software technology is the major driving force powering many businesses in today's internet-driven world, and will only increase in prevalence over time. As this unfolds, business strategies are becoming technology strategies - technology is critical to achieving business success. Without technology, such businesses could not function. Conversely, overuse or mismanagement of technology assets can be detrimental, eating away at the bottom line through unnecessary costs. Formulating a strategy that seeks an optimal middle ground of effective and efficient use of technology is key to achieving continued business success.