IT/Strategy Alignment Checklist: 5. Mind the Gaps to Reimagine the Future

We can keep our strategic thinking fresh by regularly minding the gaps between current thinking and the world of possibilities made available through emerging technological capabilities.

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With a better grasp of what our organizations already have at hand from a computing standpoint, along with a fuller understanding of what is available, it is time to redefine where we want to go. In light of the possibilities that advancing computing capabilities have to offer, there can be gaps between what is in the plan and what should be there. Minding the gaps to reimagine the future is an important step to take in order to ensure that the strategic plan is always all that it can be.

Fueled by the latest advances in computing, old-fashioned rules about an enterprise’s fixed and variable costs are being tested. Organizations are already beginning to forgo mass in favor of establishing more “mutable” business structures that can scale to size and capacity as desired. This allows enterprises to compete on a more variable cost basis, while enhancing the suppleness needed for rapid response to evolving customer desires and global market demands.

Periodically, we need to revisit our vision stories and ensure that our vision is expansive enough to accommodate the possibilities that are enabled through ongoing computing advances. Considering only the examples provided earlier in the chapter, some adjustments in strategic thinking may involve:

  • Using the Internet of Things and embedded computing concepts to differentiate product and service offerings;
  • Using mobile computing concepts to enable physical independence strategies;
  • Using SaaS as a cost-effective way to enable application refresh strategies;
  • Using PaaS as a cost-effective way to enable technology refresh strategies;
  • Using IaaS as a means to lower operating expenses and improve scalability;
  • Using BPaaS as a means to virtually outsource routine business functions;
  • Using social media to manage the brand and assist in product launch strategies;
  • Using gamification capabilities in customer loyalty campaigns.

Indeed, regularly minding the gaps between current thinking and the world of possibilities made available through newly emerging technological capabilities can keep our strategic thinking fresh and pure.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth 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

2. Know What You Have

3. Learn What Is Available

4. Separate Table Stakes from Competitive Advantage

For more information, visit www.executive-checklist.com.

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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 [email protected].

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