IT and business – support and enable

Inspired by today’s meeting with two social media experts, I decided to re-start blogging. This time in English. The language has been a problem for me because I have wanted to share my thoughts in English but also in Finnish for Finnish companies. A complicated system developed by myself has made the blogging difficult, and it has been easier not to blog at all. But now, a fresh new start with an interesting topic: IT and business – support and enable. This is so crystal clear right now; why to write on every topic and research related to social media (tried this on Facebook, not working for me the way I want), why not write about the topics that interest me, and about which I have knowledge.

Most of you are aware of the Forrester’s POST method for creating a social media strategy. PeopleObjectStrategyTools. Companies are told to start by analyzing the target group, customers, and select the appropriate tool only in the last stage. This sounds good, but may not be the right way in every situation.

Do you remember BPR from 1990’s? The article by Davenport & Short (1990): The New Industrial Engineering: Information Technology and Business Process Redesign, and especially this picture has been on my mind all these years.

I am not a big fan of BPR and I am not missing it but now when we look at social media and business, this looks reasonable again. Social media can support business, but new social media tools or services can create totally new possibilities or even new competitive edges for business, too. Sometimes it’s wise to seize the opportunity with the new tool. In my opinion, selecting the tool only after people, object and strategies, may not be the right choice in every situation.

Another old framework supports this. Henderson and Venkatraman, the classic article from 1993 (pdf). H&V have developed a strategy alignment model, a framework consisting of four elements: business and IT being external or internal. Strategy can be based on any cell of the matrix, but it has to be aligned with others. If you start with IT, be aligned with business, and vice versa. I have an idea about extending the alignment to the customers  but this needs more thinking first.

What do you think about putting the technology first?

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