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IT strategies are no way to do business

Karen Goulart, Senior Features Writer

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Karen Goulart

CAMBRDIGE, Mass. -- Of all the things said at this week's MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, this dictum keeps rising to the top: There are no such things as IT strategies; there is only business strategy with an IT roadmap to achieve it. The philosophy comes from Georgia Papathomas, vice president and CIO of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals. A featured speaker on the symposium's CIO keynote panel, Papathomas knows her business. Before CIO stints at J&J and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (where she was also the corporate innovation officer), she was a chief technology officer. Before that, she was a vice president of global service management and global professional services. Her advice to CIOs? Spend some time in your career working in --not just "with"-- the business. Think of it as professional development, she said, because that's exactly what it is.

A good example of melding IT strategies with business strategy can be found in this week's lead Searchlight item. Blogger and mobility evangelist Brian Katz shows how IT leaders are going at things backwards when it comes to things mobile. It's not about the devices, he said, but about making workers more flexible and agile so they can be more productive and efficient. Coming at it from a technology/device-first approach neglects the actual needs of the users. If you don't know what they do, how can you know what devices they need? There is no IT strategy, just business strategy.

Check out SearchCIO.com's own coverage of these topics.

How CIOs can derive value from big data

Forrester advises on using mobile to drive business process transformation

Employees matter most in developing a mobility strategy

Hybrid data centers are the future

Also this week: Forget about virtual servers -- put on your hardhat and see what a blast it can be to build a data center; plus what porn sites can teach your users about safe Web searches, big time big data Tweeters and more.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, features writer.


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IT strategy or business strategy?

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