Story image

Is a multiyear approach to IT strategy obsolete?

23 May 16

Article by Tim Jennings, Ovum chief research officer

Several clients have recently asked whether a traditional multiyear approach to IT strategy is still relevant in a world where the business landscape is rapidly evolving and the approach to new initiatives tends toward breaking them down into shorter-duration projects. My view is that while long-term strategy may change in nature, it is more vital than ever to have an overall context to guide an organization’s shorter-term plans.

The first point to make is that while agile methodologies and digital strategies may have led to shorter projects and faster cycle times, the lifecycle of IT platforms has not changed as dramatically. For on-premise technology in both infrastructure and applications, enterprises are making multiyear investments and commitments to their chosen environment.

In the cloud, while in theory there is the flexibility to react quickly to changing demands and directions, the reality of cloud service contracts and the need for stability in business-critical environments means that enterprises are typically still making longer-term choices. Having a multiyear IT strategy to provide a route map for platform development is important to avoid conflict from competing demands and to provide the optimal environment to support agile initiatives.

Secondly, I believe that enterprise architecture (as a complement to IT strategy) has an important role to play in maintaining and aligning the business context for both project and platform investments.

As a mix of shorter-term digital projects and longer-term “system of record” investments are undertaken, it’s vital that the interdependencies between them can be visualised and that there is a clear linkage to business objectives.

Thirdly, an IT strategy should also include the ongoing context of policy and governance that the organisation wishes to apply across its business technology environment. This will include areas such as information management, security, risk management, and service delivery, and while they need to be expressed in a way that meets the needs of modern agile projects, they are an important link between differing modes of IT delivery.

If an IT strategy is structured and communicated effectively, then it will strike the balance between a long-term direction for exploiting business technology and providing a supportive environment for tactical projects and rapid innovation.

Article by Tim Jennings, Ovum chief research officer

The quid pro quo in the IoT age
Consumer consciousness around data privacy, security and stewardship has increased tenfold in recent years, forcing businesses to make customer privacy a business imperative.
Kordia launches Women in Tech scholarship at the University of Waikato
The scholarship is established to acknowledge and support up-and-coming female talent and future technology leaders.
Samsung joins a global league of AI experts
“As a member of the PAI, Samsung will strive to facilitate the ongoing progress of artificial intelligence.”
VMware’s bid to accelerate enterprise adoption of Kubernetes
“Kubernetes is emerging as an open framework for multi-cloud infrastructure that enables business transformation."
Exclusive: Fileless malware driving uptake of behavioural analytics
Fileless malware often finds its way into organisations via web browsers (or in combination with other vectors such as infected USB drives).
How Azure can encourage digital innovation
Gap is working with Microsoft to migrate hundreds of applications to Azure, focusing on a seamless customer experience.
Kiwis concerned about being scammed – survey
This unease is warranted given the growing sophistication of scammers and their activities, and numbers of attempted fraud.
It's time to rethink your back-up and recovery strategy
"It is becoming apparent that legacy approaches to backup and recovery may no longer be sufficient for most organisations."