It’s Easy to Make IT the Main Strategist. But Should You?

Considering IT as the Main Strategist

I’ve been in the industry for about 15 years now. I’ve gone through the various stages of software development and ended up in management; I personally prefer the fusion of IT and business. It seems that corporations like it too. The issue arrises when the business side starts to believe that IT should make business strategies just because it “sounds IT.”

Imagine something as simple as shipping on a website. If you were to ask me how long it would take to incorporate shipping, depending on the platform, I would usually say a few hours. That is if you provide me with the proper requirements.

Just because shipping exists on the website does not mean that IT now needs to start figuring out shipping intricacies.

  • What happens when a product ships and is in stock vs not-in-stock?
  • What if it ships from one location vs another?
  • What if it ships from both locations?
  • Which courier(s) are we using?
  • Do we need to use a flat-fee or implement the courier’s API into the application?

The really interesting part comes when you leave the question unanswered and without any guidance for the C-Suite. What do you think will happen? You guessed it. The question will remain unanswered due to the “IT should solve this” mindset.

Once you start breaking down the problem, it’s easy to see that operations needs to step in and answer a few of these questions. Standard Operating Procedures need to be generated and the entire company needs to follow a specific plan, if it’s not following one already. Once the organization understands how something like shipping works, translating that to the web-application is a piece-of-cake.

This is where experienced CIO’s know how to enlighten the organization. When a problem is sent to IT to solve because it “sounds IT,” the CIO will communicate with the correct individuals and help them understand the business problem, and if needed, assist in formulating a plan.

It really is funny when you think about the various problems IT is given to solve that should have nothing to do with IT. If the organization believes that IT should solve them regardless, get ready :).


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