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Strategic use of technologies

Good evening, everyone! Today is Tuesday which means that another lecture has been held for the “Strategies, benefits and alignment” course. I’m currently waiting for the recorded version to be uploaded and published on the student platform. While waiting, I read an article on digital transformation recommended by Gunnar Wettergren. The article, titled “Digital Transformation Strategies”, was published in 2015 and describes some common elements identified in digital transformation strategies.

The use of technologies addresses a company’s attitude towards new technologies as well as its ability to exploit these technologies. It therefore contains the strategic role of IT for a company and its future technological ambition. A firm needs to decide whether it wants to become a market leader in terms of technology usage with the ability to create own technological standards, or whether it prefers to resort to already established standards and sees technologies as means to fulfill business operations.

In the article the authors outline the four dimensions of digital transformation strategies: use of technologies; changes in value creation; structural changes; and financial aspects. I was very pleased with the way they defined the use of technologies. In the article the authors specified this as “a company’s attitude towards new technologies as well as its ability to exploit these technologies.” This sets the ambition of the entire enterprise when it comes to digital transformation and the level of acceptance towards the associated risks. It’s my experience that strategic documents related to IT usually focus on the IT department: what services are to be provided; how it should be organized; related frameworks to be used; and sometimes even specific versions of software and hardware choices. Hopefully it states something about information security and availability but, in my experience, that’s usually it. This is something the authors, or actually Teubner, also have identified:

While there are various concepts of IT strategies (Teubner 2013), these mostly define the current and the future operational activities, the necessary application systems and infrastructures, and the adequate organizational and financial framework for providing IT to carry out business operations within a company. Hence, IT strategies usually focus on the management of the IT infrastructure within a firm, with rather limited impact on driving innovations in business development.

What do you think? Do you agree with the four dimensions? Have you seen a good example of an IT strategy? Please leave a comment.

Reference
C. Matt et al.: Digital Transformation Strategies, Bus Inf Syst Eng 57(5):339–343 (2015)

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