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IT strategies are no way to do business

Fresh off the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Searchlight looks at IT strategies, having a blast while building a data center, doing safe search and more.

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.

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.


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IT strategy or business strategy?
At all times IT has to facilitate the availability of data necessary for the business to achieve its strategies. In that respect all that IT does should be driven by the business. That said, IT strategy does have a place in terms of how to best structure the needed application and technology infrastructure.
I totally agree but thieves is in fact covered by the information technology triangle. Business strategy drives both IT strategy and organisational strategy. Perhaps we need a new word for IT strategy since it provides business with leverage
The business needs IT to provide a platform to do business on.
IT is used to do business and not the other way around. Nobody ever made any money from using business to do IT.
IT are service brokers and what it should do is to prepare the environment for business to enable.
IT exists, because business exists.....its obvious which one comes first