Episode 29 - Negotiating IT Strategy with Jim Maholic

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An IT strategy is crucial for businesses to provide an overall direction and plan for the business. In this episode, Jim Maholic talks about how to create an IT strategy and the importance of evaluating your current state and planning for a high-performing future state.

Jim Maholic has 30 plus years in IT leadership and is an Amazon bestselling author. He has consulted with many of the largest and most prestigious companies in North and South America across numerous industries. Jim’s career has included two stints as a CIO, executive positions with Big Four and regional consulting firms, and leadership roles with enterprise software companies. His professional focus has been developing IT strategies that align with clients' core strategic business objectives.

Jim is a really insightful and fascinating guy. We had a great conversation. He shares practical strategies a company or enterprise can take to get started with IT strategy. Be sure to check out Jim’s books, IT Strategy and Business Cases that Mean Business for more information on creating an IT strategy.

Show Notes:

  • [00:26] Jim Maholic has 30 plus years in IT leadership and is an Amazon bestseller.
  • [01:32] For the last 20 years, he has helped companies and clients start from square one and build an IT strategy.
  • [03:51] He started sports photography as a hobby and then became very involved shooting West Virginia and Pittsburgh Steelers games.
  • [05:08] The first steps of an IT strategy are drawing up your current environment. Most businesses are starting with something.
  • [05:58] Once a business lays out their current state, next they need to understand what is the driver of the strategy.
  • [06:39] Get an idea of the future state based on what is driving it from a business standpoint.
  • [07:10] Next, they need to put together the roadmap to help them get there. They may need a vendor or a consultant to give feedback on the roadmap.
  • [07:31] Too many strategies omit a section called assumptions and risks, and this is a very important part.
  • [08:54] Drawing up the current state is so vital because once you lay this strategy out several steps down the road you are going to put a price tag on that.
  • [11:26] Understanding your current state is a fundamental key to build on your IT strategy.
  • [12:10] You need to prioritize what is most important for phase one.
  • [15:08] These strategies can help IT leaders become business leaders and help the IT leaders get into the business discussions.
  • [17:14] Jim recommends conducting workshops to educate business leaders on the IT side of the business.
  • [18:27] Once you know what you need then do some research. There are probably a few vendors that already do what you want to do pretty well. Invite the vendors in to give a demonstration.
  • [19:26] Businesses typically use 3-5 year IT strategies. He strongly recommends once a quarter or at least once a year you reevaluate and recalibrate if necessary.
  • [20:04] If something comes up that interferes with the strategy you have to be willing to tweak or possibly even pivot a lot.
  • [21:51] There are three components to good change management: communication, discipline, and leadership.
  • [23:40] People may say that they like change, but nobody likes to be told to change. Communication is vital.
  • [24:42] People are the key to your success.
  • [26:23] All of us are working fundamentally for a paycheck. So helping your people understand why you are changing is crucial.
  • [27:49] This is a great time to be a CIO. It is an exciting time.

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