Gartner Research

IT Strategy: A CIO Success Kit

Published: 01 March 2009

ID: G00166022

Analyst(s): Dave Aron


Great IT strategies focus on helping the business win. This breaks down into IT guiding, and delivering on, the business strategy. There are four key documents that form the core of IT strategy. The key is to be clear, brief and focused on business success.

Table Of Contents


Executive summary

  • Strategy sets the potential business value of IT
  • A great strategy is brief, complete and focused on business success
  • Use advanced practices to supercharge and activate your strategy

IT Strategy Defines the Potential Business Value of IT

  • IT strategy is an integral component of business success
  • Case Study: Swedish Rail—From turnaround to focused innovation
  • Clarify the purpose and scope of your IT strategy
  • Plan to build a complete set of strategy documents
  • Create a short, complete, business-focused IT strategy

Clarify Demand: How Will IT Help Us Win?

  • Business context and business success
  • Business capabilities are the glue
  • IT contribution is the “elevator pitch”

Structure Control: Which Mechanisms Will Drive Strategic Behavior?

  • Define IT principles that will encourage strategic behaviors
  • Design governance practices with the right participation and tools
  • Ensure that IT financial management incentivizes the right decisions
  • Document metrics that connect to business success

Define Supply: How Will We Develop and Use Our Assets to Create Business Success?

  • Define IT services and the approach to IT service management
  • Outline the enterprise architecture’s impact on winning
  • Highlight critical people issues and avoid drowning in detail
  • Summarize how sourcing will be a strategic tool

Complete and Assess Your IT Strategy

  • “Top and tail” your IT strategy
  • Ensure that your strategy is success-focused, complete and brief

Use Advanced Behaviors to Activate and Supercharge Your Strategy

  • Think beyond your current business activities to your underlying business model
  • Case Study:  APM Terminals—Adding value using business model analogies
  • Use strategy moments to get everyone thinking strategically
  • Use unconventional communications to get unstuck
  • A little bit of strategy goes a long way

Further Reading

  • Gartner EXP reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Articles

©2021 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.