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Getting strategic about IT

I’m a firm believer that business priorities should drive your IT decisions, not the other way around. This ensures that you are achieving real business impact, not just following the latest IT trend or getting distracted by low value activities.

As Peter Drucker once said:

The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions”

In the context of choosing software, asking the wrong question is jumping to “which CRM should I get?” before first asking questions like “what does my business need to meet its objectives?” and “how can software help me do this?”. It may indeed be the case that a CRM system is required… but before you try to find the right one, find out in detail what it is that you most need for your business to succeed!

Even big enterprises sometimes need reminding about this. A recent article in strategy+business magazine called “Road Map to Relevance” emphasises the importance of thinking about the capabilities that your business needs to succeed, and ensuring that your IT strategy is aligned with this. The authors suggest the journey to achieve this has four steps:

“First, what are your company’s distinctive capabilities – those that support your strategic priorities – and how can they be improved with information technology? Second how should you prioritize your IT projects accordingly? Third, what sequence of investment and activity will allow you to reach the goals you’ve set and  close the gaps you need to close. And fourth, what kinds of cultural and governance support do you need to put this IT strategy into practice?”

Although the article above has a much broader scope than our focus on software selection, it certainly resonates well with the simple, five-step methodology that Software Shortlist developed to help SMBs choose software more effectively:

  1. Understand your business needs
  2. Define your software requirements
  3. Identify available software
  4. Shortlist the best options
  5. Evaluate and decide

The benefits of taking a more strategic approach to IT – i.e. aligning your IT and software decisions with what drives your business success – are compelling.

On the one hand, you reduce your costs by not investing in things that don’t make a difference to your business. Plus, the right IT investments can provide a seriously positive boost to your sales, productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall business performance. In fact, a McKinsey study from 2006 found that “investments in technology-enabled business processes can deliver up to ten times the impact of traditional IT cost reduction efforts”.

If you’d like a free copy of our ebook on effective software selection, simply email us at And once you’re ready to consider particular solutions, why not try our free Get A Shortlist service?