Decode the Corporate Strategy. Access Granted: Commencing IT value delivery. CIOs must help the business achieve goals and objectives. IT planning must be based on corporate strategy; achieving a clear and agreed upon vision of corporate strategy is the foundation upon which the IT strategy is built. However, CIOs are often left in the dark, and an inability to identify corporate imperatives undermines IT-business alignment. Complications: IT is not included in corporate strategy discussions and finds it challenging to obtain required strategic information. Corporate objectives are too vague. Business units keep changing their minds about corporate imperatives. Business units demand more than IT can deliver. Stats: Booz & Co. survey finds that: Only 46% of executives believe their company’s strategy will lead to success.1 Only 33% of executives believe their core capabilities fully support corporate strategy.1 64% of leaders say their biggest frustration is that managers have conflicting priorities.1 Info-Tech finds that: Only 7.1% of CIOs have a complete understanding of business strategy.2 Sources for Stats: Booz & Co. survey of more than 3,500 global leaders, including 550 CEOs and 325 other C-suite executives, June 2013. Info-Tech Research Group Webinar Survey, Decode the Corporate Strategy The corporate strategy is the treasure map to corporate prosperity. CIOs need their own copy so they don’t get lost. You’ll need data from many sources to fill in the missing pieces of the map. Finding all the treasure is impossible; prioritize IT support. Identify the capabilities required to reach prosperity; a boat and crew will be required. You shouldn’t start sailing for treasure until you have a map. Building an IT strategy without a concrete understanding of the corporate strategy is sailing without a map. You’ll get lost and fail to deliver the IT capabilities required to support business objectives. Shortcuts can get you to some treasure, but a structured approach can get you to the Holy Grail. To get a comprehensive view of all corporate objectives and initiatives, a structured approach is required. It is a long and perilous road to buried treasure. A wise treasure hunter takes a systematic approach to keeping the terrors of the sea at bay. Use a structured process to collect data, identify objectives, identify required capabilities, and prioritize IT support. The treasure map may have pieces torn off, ink smudges, and faded writing. You’ll have to search in a myriad of places to find and fill in the missing pieces. Synthesize all relevant corporate strategy data to get a holistic view of your organization’s structural, customer-related, and operational imperatives. Companies don’t pursue only the Holy Grail – they pursue many treasures. The CIO must identify all the treasures on the map to have a holistic view of corporate strategy. Analyze corporate strategy data to identify all relevant corporate objectives and initiatives. A ship can only travel to so many treasures in one voyage. Pick the treasures you will pursue. Limited IT resources necessitate prioritizing corporate objectives and initiatives; allocate IT resources to key imperatives. Now that you know what treasure the business will pursue, it is critical to have the right capabilities. The wrong boat, crew, or supplies can leave you shipwrecked. Identify the business capabilities required to execute the corporate strategy. Supporting these business capabilities will drive IT strategy formation. Resources are not infinite. Use the resources available to generate the best combination of crew, boat, and supplies. Prioritize the business capabilities that will be required for corporate strategy execution; IT may only be able to support some of them. Understanding the corporate strategy has given you a map and an understanding of the resources you need. Next, obtain those resources and prepare to set sail.