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


23 June 2009 • 7:30 am

The Mature Information Technology Organization?

In the 20 years that I have been a management consultant, I’ve seen over a hundred IT organizations (ITOs) up close. Although I have come to see the ITO as a strategic asset to the organization, unfortunately, more often than not, the ITO has been seen as a liability by the most members of  the parent enterprise. In the diversity of ITOs that I have seen, I observed that ITOs seem to evolve through a series of stages until their value to the parent enterprise is fully mature (first described in an article I wrote in 2001). The maturity model was based on my observations about the different change agenda I saw in different ITOs. In short, ITOs are either Defensive, Reactive, Responsive, or Strategy-Focused.


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.


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.