IT/Strategy Alignment Checklist: 2. Know What You Have

An IT baseline inventory organized by workplace, information, application and technology map technology to a company’s strategic vision.

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With a better understanding of where technology fits within the strategic vision, it is wise to create a baseline inventory of the organization’s existing IT architecture. A baseline audit of the computing environment is needed in order to assess how well the enterprise is technologically positioned to support its plans for the future.

Some organizations have such an IT baseline readily available, while others do not. Its existence seems to depend on several factors, including the size, years in business, number of physical locations, and level of sophistication of IT personnel within the enterprise. If your organization does not have a current IT baseline, it will be necessary to staff and fund a strategic project to deliver one.

The IT baseline can be organized across the following four dimensions:

Workplace: The Workplace Dimension of the IT baseline captures characteristics about the way in which work is currently performed within the enterprise. The organizational design, business functions, worker types, and work locations are all identified and cross-referenced against the information, applications, and technology that are used in the workplace.

Information: The Information Dimension of the IT baseline collects and presents particulars about the data used in support of the organization. Details about the type, source, locale, and volume of the data are charted against the other three dimensions of the IT baseline so as to ascertain how information is managed within the enterprise.

Application: The Application Dimension of the IT baseline contains the current systems portfolio that is in place within the concern. Key features and functions of each application are defined and mapped against the Workplace, Information, and Technology views of the IT baseline.

Technology: The Technology Dimension of the IT baseline documents the current hardware inventories, standards, configurations, usage statistics, and processing capacities of the boxes and pipes that support the enterprise. This view of the IT baseline is plotted against the others to present a clear view of the organization’s computing environment.

We can better plan the future course of technology deployment within our organizations by knowing the intersection points of these four views of the computing environment.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of seven articles on IT/strategy alignment adapted from The Executive Checklist, by James M. Kerr. Click below to read other installments.

 1. Define Where Technology Fits

3. Learn What Is Available

4. Separate Table Stakes from Competitive Advantage

5. Mind the Gaps to Reimagine the Future

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James M. Kerr // James M. Kerr is a partner at BlumShapiro Consulting in West Hartford, Conn., and a strategy thought leader who has worked with clients from both the carrier and vendor segments of the insurance industry.  His latest book, The Executive Checklist, is now available.  You can contact him at jkerr@BlumShapiro.com.

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