Educating IT Professionals in Business Strategy

A very successful technique for educating IT professionals in business strategy is to assign them to mentor senior corporate executives. In what turns out to be mutual mentoring, the business professionals learn what the company’s IT systems can do, how to evaluate and use different PC software, navigate the Internet, and how to better understand IT as they’re teaching the IT professionals how rational decision-making criteria are applied to business-IT issues.

Another effective tack is to assign high-potential IT professionals the twin tasks of monitoring competitors’ IT-based initiatives and high-tech suppliers’ most significant technology introductions. In quarterly meetings attended by director-level business managers and above, these IT fast-trackers present the potential threats of competitors’ initiatives and potential value-building opportunities they have identified for the company. Such sessions will sharpen the business skills of the IT professionals and provide business executives with a thought-provoking, strategy-planning exercise.

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