What is IT strategy? And why are so many managed service providers bad at it?

Working out an IT Strategy

I’ve just Googled “What is IT strategy” and balked at the results. One of the first things that comes up is this:

“An IT strategy is a written document that details the multiple factors that affect the organization’s investment in and use of technology.”

I have so many issues with that statement. First, that sounds boring as hell. Second, business leaders who are not involved with IT are likely to be confused by whatever goes into that document. And third, I’m just not sure I agree with it in the first place.

Let me explain.

So many small businesses take a deep sigh whenever someone in IT utters the phrase “IT strategy” because IT strategies are boring and incomprehensible. Well, most of the time anyway. And that’s why they tend to fail.

At the end of the day, technologies are tools, and tools are tactics. They’re not strategic. Strategy is about identifying a business need, setting an objective, and deciding at a top level what you’re going to do to fix that business issue. Once the strategy is in place, the tactics then deliver the execution on that strategy.

The same applies for IT strategy — but so many managed service providers jump to the tactics (the technologies) before understanding what they’re trying to deliver on.

At Techsolve, we approach IT strategy in the same way you would approach business strategy. Doing so means we can align your IT strategy directly with your business one. And both you and us can be confident that it’ll be right, and that it’ll work.

That’s what we pride ourselves at being able to do well at Techsolve (unlike some other companies out there). Because before we can possibly work out what technology you might need, we absolutely must understand your business and how it operates.

So, when we first talk to you, we’ll barely even mention the “T” word, and instead ask the same kinds of questions that the dragons on Dragons’ Den ask, but in a much more friendly way! We’ll ask you about your top-level business goals, your market, your customers, and how you operate on a day-to-day. We’ll ask you how your business is structured and how the different kinds of roles within your business tend to work.

Only once we understand your business in detail can we be able to provide you everything from a tech point of view that will work. And we’re tech agnostic too, which means we won’t just propose any old solution — we’ll exhaust our partnerships and our network of contacts in the tech world (and scour the wider tech landscape if needs be) to find you something we’re confident will work for you.

And the proposal you get from us will be clear and aligned with your business goals. That’s the Techsolve way. Straight-talking human beings who solve business problems.

If you’ve been burned by managed IT service providers in the past, or you’re new to procuring IT, have a look at our guide for what small businesses should look out for, and what questions you should be asking the IT companies you’re engaging with.