Information technology has infiltrated just about every aspect of business, to the point where it’s nearly impossible to avoid developing a dedicated IT strategy in order to support your main business goals.
Take the new book by Jeff Papows, veteran tech executive. In Glitch: The Hidden impact of Faulty Software, Papows describes how even minor software troubles can lead to big headaches for organizations, especially if they rely on the software to carry out their business. Software glitches can affect an organization’s technology infrastructure, its business operations, and its customers, and damage an organization’s brand, reputation, productivity and ultimately its profitability.
Naturally, the book also “provides sound recommendations on how to reduce the proliferation of these glitches.”
What first caught my eye though were Papows’s “10 tips to get the most from your IT investments“. You can just navigate to Computerworld to read the complete list, but I thought I’d highlight a couple of his salient points here:
- Establish benchmarks and evaluate progress according to agreed-upon metrics
- Promote IT governance as a positive contributor to the company’s bottom line, and offer employee bonuses to help negate unfavourable connotations
- Create reporting dashboards that reflect business goals
- Apply governance at each stage of the software development life cycle to avoid gaps that lead to glitches
- Automate where possible, but don’t abandon the human review cycle
The common themes are vigilance, measurement and alignment of IT strategy to business goals. And activating each of these themes means engaging employees (not just IT staff) in all aspects of the process. Maybe that sounds like a heavy burden, but remember two things: the potential damage of a software or general IT glitch—in terms of profits, reputation and so on—can easily outweigh the cost to prevent such events; and when employees are on board and have clear direction—in the form of a policy and procedures—the costs should become predictable.
Information Technology PolicyPro (ITPP) from First Reference covers the IT planning process from beginning to end. For example, Chapter 1 — Planning features a section on strategic planning that “identifies critical elements of the IT strategic plan and ensures that IT planning is aligned with the organization’s strategic goals”, as well as a section on Implementation that “provides overall policies for implementing and modifying systems and applications”.
First Reference Human Resources, Compliance and Internal Controls Editor