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2 July 2009 • 7:00 am

Framework for IT Organization Strategy

Our prior consideration of the Strategy-Focused IT Organization and strategy map design intersect today as I present a framework for developing strategy for the IT organization. Please note the considerable distinction between IT strategy and IT organization strategy; the former generally refers to the intent of an enterprise with respect to technology and enterprise information architectures, standards, approaches to sourcing decisions, technology site design and redundancy, etc. These are important considerations about the deployment of technology in the enterprise. But IT organization strategy is about the management, composition, direction, and evolution of the IT organization (hence, ITO) itself

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15 June 2009 • 11:11 am

The IT Change Agenda – Part II: Agility and Innovation

In the previous post, we considered the first two of the four domains of desired change in IT organizations that was introduced in my 2001 article in Harvard Business School’s Balanced Scorecard Report. Satisfactory performance in the domains of Cost and Quality is merely hygienic and expected of every competent IT organization. Cost and Quality are the primary domains for desired change in traditional IT organizations. But in those enterprises where IT is essential to the value proposition (e.g. firms born during the “dot-com” era), IT leaders focus more on the agility of the IT organization and infrastructure, and their ability to innovate with technology on behalf of the parent firm. Here, we examine these domains a bit more closely.

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14 June 2009 • 1:42 pm

The IT Change Agenda – Part I: Cost and Quality

In 2001, I developed a model for organizing the change agenda for IT organizations that was published in Harvard Business School’s Balanced Scorecard Report. The model arose from observations of the many IT organizations with whom I had been consulting, and described four broad domains of desired change in IT organizations: Cost, Quality, Agility, and Innovation. I had observed that in older, more traditional IT organizations, the main concern of IT leaders was to lower (or at least manage) costs, and to improve quality. By contrast, in those enterprises where IT was essential to the value proposition (e.g. firms born during the “dot-com” era), IT leaders tended to focus more on the agility of the IT organization and infrastructure, and their ability to innovate with technology on behalf of the parent firm.
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25 May 2009 • 11:19 am

Hygienic Strategy?

Much of my work with organizations has been influenced by two classic theories of human behavior and motivation. Many of my clients have been familiar with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in which human needs are arranged like rungs on a ladder. According to Maslow, the most basic needs at the bottom of the ladder are physical, such as air, water, food, and sleep. Next are safety needs, followed by psychological, or social needs; for belonging, love, acceptance. Next are esteem needs; to feel achievement, status, responsibility, and reputation. At the top of it all are the self-actualizing needs; the need to fulfill oneself, to become all that one is capable of becoming. Maslow felt that unfulfilled needs lower on the ladder would inhibit the person from climbing to the next step. Published in 1943, Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation has been a remarkably durable set of ideas, given the advances in behavioral science in the decades since.

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