Is IT Strategic or Tactical? 

The short answer is yes - information technology (IT) can be both strategic and tactical, depending on the context and how it is used within an organization. While they may seem similar, they represent distinct approaches to achieving goals. Strategic thinking involves long-term planning, envisioning the big picture, and identifying opportunities for growth, while tactical execution focuses on short-term actions, adaptability, and efficient problem-solving. In this blog post, we will explore why it is essential to embrace both strategic and tactical thinking when it comes to how you approach your association’s IT. 

Strategic IT 

Strategic IT refers to the long-term planning and implementation of technology solutions to align with an organization's overall business objectives. It involves the use of IT to gain a competitive advantage, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation. Strategic IT decisions are made at the executive level and typically involve large-scale initiatives that have a significant impact on the organization as a whole. For example, developing a digital transformation strategy, adopting new technologies to enter new markets, or implementing an enterprise-wide system such as an AMS, CRM, or financial management system to streamline business processes. 

Strategic IT decisions reach beyond the technology into the “how” and “why.”  How are we using current technology to accomplish our goals, and why are we doing it that way?  How will new technology improve our ability to achieve our goals? While it may seem obvious, a clear understanding of the goals an organization is trying to meet is important to creating a solid IT strategy.  

Included also in strategic IT decisions should be the consideration of policy, such as data governance policy and operational policies around things like financial workflows and membership benefit assignment.   

Tactical IT 

Tactical IT focuses on the day-to-day operational activities and support functions of an organization's IT infrastructure. It involves managing and maintaining existing systems, providing technical support to end-users, ensuring data security, and troubleshooting IT issues. Tactical IT decisions are often made by IT managers and teams to address immediate needs and ensure smooth functioning of the IT environment. Examples of tactical IT activities include software and hardware upgrades, network maintenance, help desk support, and data backups. 

Strategic technology decisions should take tactical IT practices into consideration, remembering that any new technology that is implemented will eventually move into the tactical IT arena.   

Wrapping IT Up 

While strategic and tactical thinking are distinct, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the true power lies in their integration. By combining strategic vision with tactical execution, individuals and organizations can create a powerful synergy that drives success. One way to effectively merge these two approaches is by having an IT roadmap that equips your association with the right tools to optimize technology infrastructure while supporting your mission and objectives. In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, developing and executing a robust IT Roadmap is more critical than ever.  Do you need help developing a strategic IT plan that aligns with your company culture? At Cimatri, we’re determined to help you connect the dots between IT strategy and results. Learn more here.  

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