Not all novel technologies are helpful: but exploiting the right ones can deliver competitive advantage.
The skill of technology strategy is to understand how novel technologies can serve your business – and then identify and develop the right opportunities.
The role of IT in leading the business's deployment of new and developing technologies is not clear cut. Sometimes a technology is spotted which can be used creatively for a tactical opportunity. Sometimes, the existing technology portfolio cannot meet an expressed business need. Sometimes, a newer solution can effectively supersede an established technology.
IT can occupy the leadership position in all these scenarios: but only if there is knowledge of what is going on, and an ability to rapidly evaluate and perhaps implement.
The STEP process guides you to identify the Scope of a new technology; to decide whether and how frequently to Track its progress; when or whether to move to a full Evaluation; and the targets and criteria for a Prototype or Pilot implementation.
An Evaluation or Pilot does not necessarily lead to long-term or enterprise-wide adoption. It may confirm a strong business case for a lshort-term opportunity. It is equally a success if it identifies clear reasons why the technology should not be taken further. The key skill is the shaping of criteria in a well understood business context, enabling opportunities to be rapidly recognised and followed through or to be equally rapidly discounted.
Effective strategy demands wide-ranging awareness exploiting the contacts, professional needs and personal interests across IT. It is a collaborative effort, requiring open and effective sharing. It spans both business and technology domains, needing understanding of both and a dialogue between those responsible.
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