A good IM strategy builds a framework across people and organization, process and methodology, and technology and architecture. Creating a singular, cohesive IM strategy that meets the many needs of your enterprise can be challenging — consider budget restrictions, aging technology, talent concerns, or a history of missed commitments.
One of the most complex challenges may involve competing IM strategies within a larger ecosystem.
What scenarios can spark competing strategies within an organization?
Although these are often signs of a successful, expanding business, they can breed competition among people, processes, and technology resources. Following are two specific examples I’ve witnessed over the years that were breeding grounds for a competitive environment.
Example 1: Company merger. Two large telecom companies merge; they struggle to develop synergies, consolidate, and align across functions and processes. The data warehouse teams of both companies have significant data assets to support the new company. Pressured to find the right consolidation options, both teams become defensive and each maneuvers to show why their team is not replaceable and their platform is the right long-term solution.
Example 2: Subsidiaries. A large insurance company has many subsidiaries with dedicated IT departments that function independently to meet local data needs. Meanwhile, the company has a centralized data warehouse designed to create synergy and address data management needs across subsidiaries. Unfortunately, the localized teams don’t trust the centralized IT team and believe that the centralized team will not understand or meet the individual needs of the subsidiaries. The localized IT and business teams begin to build their own strategies to ensure their business needs are met.
We Have Competing Strategies, Now What?
These examples provide a glimpse into the complexities that exist in a successful corporation, and we can see a common denominator of competing IM strategies across IT and business groups. Perhaps you can relate to one or both examples and — as you read between the lines — you have your own passionate beliefs about what is right or wrong with each scenario. Beliefs aside, let’s look at how a leadership team can bring unity.
Political objectives can create an undercurrent of issues beneath the surface of recognizable business challenges. They can prove to be the largest detractor to gaining a truly cohesive vision and IM strategy. Like a fault line waiting to erupt, the negative whispers from this undercurrent can cause much damage and must be brought from the hallways to the table to be appropriately addressed by leadership.