In short, an IT Strategy is a very difficult thing to nail down. Perhaps this is why there are (by my reckoning) only three books stocked by Amazon on IT Strategy:
- Designing the Future: How to Develop and Implement your IT Strategy
- Align IT: Business Impact through IT, and
- Making IT Count: Strategy, Delivery, Infrastructure
Advanced Searches on Google for IT Strategy .doc documents are similarly fruitless, or at least bear largely unpalatable fruit. We can put aside that most such documents are commercially confidential because there are usually enough exceptions in the public sector- or leaks! The results are there (all 6,460 of them) but invariably these 'strategies' are more tactical in nature rather than a strategic framework to support business cases, projects and service management decisions. Frequent bloopers are wish lists of projects and esoteric statements such as "we will buy only Microsoft" (whether or not you drink from the Microsoft fountain this is a dictat which helps in too narrow and exclusive a way). Still, poor examples there may be, but all this criticism is actually neither here nor there if the result is of the highest possible value which the IT function could make to the organisation.
Before I continue, I should explain this is an exploratory article so I welcome any further contributions as to why there are few books on IT Strategy.
First of all, the valuable component of an IT Strategy is not really an object. Yes, there is a document (or all manner of communications media) as a deliverable, but it is the exercise of going through the process of designing, developing, implementing and reviewing IT strategy which provides immeasurable value to an organisation. You can have a great document, but only with alignment to the business, education and ownership will the organisation use it to great effect.
Any IT Strategy worth its salt intrinsically links to, is guided by and enables the Business Strategy, so often the deliverable is contained within a deliverable of wider scope. This also leads us to conclude there are as many IT strategies as there are unique organisations. Yes, IT strategies often share common themes, but although boilerplate may be a helpful starting point, it will ultimately constrain or miss opportunities for the subject. What is fit for purpose (in process and deliverable) for one team is not fit for another organisation.
So, this explains why a definitive reference for IT Strategy has not yet emerged. Perhaps we should ask the prolific Jordan to give it a go?