The thing that we always grapple with when we start to have the conversation about Technology Strategy vs. IT Strategy is that everyone has their own interpretation of what it is.
- Some people think that IT and Technology strategies are exactly the same.
- Some think that IT strategy is about the internal digital infrastructure and technology strategy is how you leverage technology to improve your products and service.
- Some think that IT strategy is a subset of a broader Technology strategy
And so as you start to read this blog post, think about what these two differing words mean to you right now. And hopefully you gain clarity on this once you finish this post.
The difference between IT and Technology
What is IT? What is Technology?
Because once you document what this is, it’ll make it a lot easier for you to have a conversation with your teams and industry partners. You will all be on the same page and it will allow all of you to alter your opinions and recommendations accordingly.
So is there a universally true differentiation between the two?
At ATECA we think there is, and it comes down to the two words themselves
IT – Information Technology
Technology – Refers to the tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world problems
The word technology in the last 20-30 years has predominately been featured when discussing the innovations happening in the digital space i.e. Internet, Analytics, AI, IoT, Cloud Computing and we are subconsciously creating a view that technology is a ‘digital’ thing. But remember, at one time in human history the steam engine, printing press, hydrolics and others were considered cutting edge technology. And today pharmaceuticals, advanced materials, solar are many more in that category and far from digital.
Why is this important?
Because when it comes to the connotations of the word technology, we all need to make sure that anyone reading an IT or Technology Strategy understands what is actually means, what its boundaries are and what it’s setting out to achieve.
So when we look at an IT Strategy it aligns with the job role of the CIO and looks at
- IT infrastructure and applications
- Internal IT policies and procedures
- Information security
- Roadmap of activities in the short-medium-longterm
When we look at a technology strategy it aligns with the job role of the CTO and looks at
- Encompassing the entire organisation (not just IT)
- Its about how we leverage technology to deliver the outcome
- It’s about people and how we ensure all our people have the training, tools to execute the strategy
- Its about the processes to empower our people to execute the strategy
The bottom line?
IT strategies focus on Information Technology and are predominately internal focussed.
Technology strategies focuses on holistic use of all technology both internally within your organisation and externally to your customers.
There is a role for both, but the key is not to confuse the two. If half the organisation think they have a Technology Strategy and the other half think you have an IT Strategy you will be in a world of hurt. The same document will be treated differently and that misalignment will lead to its failure.