How Well does your Organization Manage Technology?

There are many factors that together determine how well an organization manages technology. I will attempt to address them in an organized manner, asking questions and giving what good answers would be. I have attempt to predict followup questions for the points and provide answera for them.

General Points

  1. Does your overall organization (corporation, government, etc) have a strategic technology plan (STP)?
    Every organization (except small organizations) should have a strategic technology plan.
    • What is in a strategic technology plan?
      Check out a description of the strategic technology planning process and what it addresses. (All phases should be done.)
    • Is a STP that only addresses part of the organization useful?
      Yes, but by having a narrower scope, opportunities for better integration organization-wide, areas for better efficiency can be missed, poor funding decisions may be made, duplicate development can occur, and incompatible development can occur.
  2. Is the foundation of STP the organization's strategic goals?
    An organization that manages technology well has and actively uses a STP that addresses the technologies needed to fulfill the strategic goals of the organization.
    • Can the strategic goals include those for various departments of the organization.
      Yes, but they should be phrased and looked at generically as if they apply to the whole organization (where applicable) for purposes of the STP
    • Should the strategic goals be prioritized?
      Yes, and this priorities can be used to prioritize (or one factor in prioritization of) the implementation of the STP.
  3. Does the STP address all technologies in use in your organization?
    A good STP addresses not only each technologies in use but also how they interact and interwork with each other.
    • Is a STP that only addresses some technologies, such as only information technologies useful?
      Yes, but by having a narrower scope, opportunities for better integration organization-wide, areas for better efficiency can be missed, poor funding decisions may be made, duplicate development can occur, and incompatible development can occur.
  4. Is the STP continually being updated?
    A good STP is a living plan, changing as technologies become available, become implemented & are better understood, and as organizational goals change.
  5. Is development funding driven by the STP?
    An organization that manages technology well uses the STP to prioritize and assign funding for all technology development and related projects throughout the organization.
  6. Are all planners aware of the STP and follow its guidance, either directly or indirectly?
    An organization that manages technology well has its planners current with the STP and have them actively use it in developing technology implementation plans.
  7. Are the information technology models within the STP the basis of all information technology models used for implementation?
    An organization that manages technology well derives its more detailed implementation models from those within the STP.
  8. Does the STP address risks of technology immaturity and poor vendor implementation?
    An organization that manages technology well assesses the risks associated with each technology and understands the effects if it does not mature at the rate expected.
  9. Do you use auditors to evaluate how well you manage technology?
    Given that technology is very complex and most executives are not technically knowledgeable enough to evaluate their organization's use of technology, auditor can be very useful in helping the executive understand their technology and how well it is deployed and where improvements can be very beneficial to the organization.
    • Should these auditors report to the shareholders (citizens) the state of technology use in the organization.
      Given the effect that technology management has on the organization, the shareholders (citizens) should be informed on how well technology is managed so that they can influence management and make better investment decisions.
    • Do you know of any organization that has auditors report on technology management today to shareholders?
      No, but hopefully this will change.
    • Do you know of any organization that has auditors report on technology management today to executives?
      No, I personally do not know of any but hopefully there are some today and more in the future.

Leadership

  1. Who is responsible for the STP of the organization?
    The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is ultimately responsible for the having a good STP and guiding its implementation throughout the organization.
    • How does having a Chief Tehnology Officer (CTO) change this?
      It doesn't, however if empowered the CTO can perform the functions associated with leading the development and evolution of the STP and leading its guidance organization-wide.
    • Yes, but by having a narrower scope, opportunities for better integration organization-wide, areas for better efficiency can be missed, poor funding decisions may be made, duplicate development can occur, and incompatible development can occur.
  2. How much of the STP should the CEO understand?
    The CEO should understand thoroughly the executive summary of the STP and be able to work with the primary individual(s) responsible for the technical aspects of the plan when further technology-related information is needed.
  3. Who is technologically responsible for the development and evolution of the STP?
    An organization that manages technology well, has either one or an team of highly technical individuals who understand both the strategic goals of the organizations as well as the technology and are responsible for understanding the details of the strategic technology plan and leading its implementation throughout the organization.
    • Is this person or team management or technical?
      These people should be technical, but due to the level of impact of their technology leadership and expertise, they should be compensated as executives.

Effects of Poorly Managing Technology

  1. Significant Expenses (that could have been avoided)
  2. Poor Technology Integration
  3. Failure to Achieve Corporate Goals
  4. Competive Disadvantage with those who do
  5. Lack of Flexibility to Adapt Technologies to new uses/services
  6. Inability to Stop bad Projects early
  7. Bottom-line impacts of millions to hundred of millions or billions of dollars each year



Want to Manage
Technology Better?

Contact Consulting Sages about their Strategic Technology Planning Service and let us help you significantly improve your technology management and your bottom-line.

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Go the Thomas Stobie's Master Index.


2003 by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO

Last modified on 10 Nov 2008.