This is the fourteenth in a series of articles for e-learning for Advanced Sales Training for IT and High-Tech Sales "Sales Strategy, Understanding Your Customer Part 6: Linking IS & IT Decisions with Business Strategy.”
As businesses continue to invest in technology to gain a competitive edge, it is clear that for large organisations the purchase of Information Technology is a strategic issue, and the need to link IT to the business strategies is vital.
Information Systems (IS) and Information Technology (IT) play a pivotal role in determining an organization's success and therefore the need for a systematic approach to managing IS/IT investments becomes increasingly critical.
More and more parts of large organisations depend on the added value they can gain from managing their investment in information systems, therefore, the need for a corporate wide strategy is a major force in driving purchase decisions.
From the perspective of major account sales, gaining a deep understanding of your customer's IS/IT strategy is a powerful route to winning new business. The Strategic Alignment can help you hold intelligent conversations on linking IS/IT investments to the business needs.
The Strategic Alignment Model
You can use the Business Initiatives and IT Alignment Model as the basis for intelligent conversations with the customer regarding their Business Strategic Direction and the use of IT as a support tool and strategy enabler.
Strategic Alignment Model
1. Business Strategy
- What is the customer's business focus (strategic direction) for the next 18 to 36 months?
- What are the opportunities based on the Business Model, Value Chain, PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis product portfolio and product / marketing strategy.
- What are the company’s business initiatives for revenue and costs?
- How will the company achieve its goals, meet the expectations of its customers, and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace?
- What are the plans for organisational changes (people development, business process changes, culture, new reporting relationships, internal and external organisational structures, information requirements) to support the business strategy?
2. Aligning IT with the Business Strategy –
- What is the role of IT in supporting the current business strategy?
- What role does IT have in supporting the existing Business Model, Value Chain?
- How does / will IT support the company’s strategic business direction?
- How does IT Strategy support the organisational transformation strategy?
- Are the IT plans, goals, funding explicitly linked to achieving business goals and objectives?
- What are the important projects to invest in and prioritize?
Strategic management of IS/IT investments is a complex task. If you have applied the business analysis tools (discussed in previous articles), you can use the strategic alignment model to understand the organization's goals and the evolving technological landscape, discussing the customer’s strategic direction, and developing a picture of the content and implications of their current and future systems portfolio and its contribution to the company’s business strategy.
Clients value partners who understand their business model, business strategies, and business processes. And guide them in making informed decisions regarding IS/IT investments - delivering the right technology and business solutions to move their business forward.