What do chess grandmasters, military strategists, and successful business leaders have in common?
They understand the difference between strategy and tactics and how these two forces interplay to produce their desired objective.
Aligning your IT strategy with the right tactics and business IT support will help your business prepare for growth, respond effectively to changes in the market, and facilitate better decision-making.
This blog looks at the importance of understanding the relationship between strategy and tactics, how three global brands failed to develop a clear IT strategy and suffered the consequences and the benefits of working with service providers to establish an IT strategy supported by the right tactics.
Strategy is where you want to go and what you want to accomplish.
An IT strategy refers to the overarching goals and objectives of the IT department. This is a long-term action plan that can take several years to complete. An IT strategy is based on a shared vision and requires sufficient business IT support.
Tactics are how you get there and the execution of decisions.
In contrast, tactics are specific actions taken to achieve particular goals. These concrete steps are more immediate and can change depending on the landscape and organisational needs. They lead to tangible results that move towards achieving the strategy.
It’s integral that, as an IT department, you don’t frame it as strategy vs. tactics but rather view tactics as an inevitable and valuable step towards realising the strategy.
Corporate history is filled with examples of businesses that failed to outline their technology strategy and consequently implemented misplaced tactical goals in disruptive landscapes.
The demise of Blockbuster
As the tide turned towards digital streaming and online video rentals, Blockbuster failed to pivot its IT strategy to a digital model, instead, implementing several tactical responses such as Blockbuster online, eliminating late fees, mail-order rental, and a kiosk rental system. This scattered service and highlighted an inability to innovate in the face of a rapidly shifting landscape. When they lost focus on the long-term strategy, which should have been competing with streaming service providers, Blockbuster was left behind.
The slow response of Kodak
With a rapid shift in how people were consuming digital media in the early 2000s, Kodak failed to invest in an IT strategy early enough that would allow their business model to pivot to digital photography. Eventually they launched a new line of digital cameras and created an online platform, but this slowed adoption came too late as newer and more agile companies such as Apple and Instagram captured the market.
Yahoo’s failure to adapt
At once one of the most significant search engines on the market Yahoo failed to recognise the impact of mobile phones and social media on digital habits— acquiring new business instead of establishing an IT strategy that would allow them to compete with Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Yahoo’s lack of planning also led to missteps, including the ill-fated acquisition of the social networking sites Geocities and Flickr, and Tumblr and the decision not to acquire Google.
Due to the ever-evolving nature of IT and rapid tech development in areas such as AI and cloud computing, SMEs are especially susceptible to implementing digital tactics without a robust framework in place. Such mistakes could include:
To ensure clearly manageable tactics that align with an overarching strategy that makes sense, smart businesses are partnering with strategic managed service providers (MSPs).
Some of these strategic IT services include:
Our IT business support has helped several businesses from various industries, including a wind farm. In this instance, we set up their digital framework from the beginning, which allowed us to establish a clear IT strategy and implement tactics only when necessary for the growth of the business.
No matter the scale of your business, over-reliance on tactics without a robust strategic framework can lead to inconsistency, inhibited scaling potential, and aimless decision-making.
Preparing a robust strategy with experienced service providers is one of the best ways to prepare for the future and ensure business goals and tactics a perfectly aligned.
For first-class small business IT support Sydney get in touch with IT Smart Solutions today.