A technology strategist is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining strategies as they relate to a company's information technology structure. This is critical for a business because the use of technology typically reduces costs and results in greater efficiency and profit yield. As a technology strategist works, he must coordinate not only with members of management, but also with the company's clients.
One of the initial tasks an technology strategist has is to evaluate the company's current technology status. This may include speaking with managers of the information technology team, as well as physically visiting the company's various centers to assess what is currently in use. The technology strategist also researches what the company's competitors are doing with technology in order to determine whether his company is being equally innovative. As part of this process, the technology strategist may request formal inventory, technology and technology-related production reports.
During the research process, a technology strategist also tries to determine what the customers of the company need or want that could be supplied or supported with technology. For instance, the strategist might discover that the company's clients have a strong desire to track shipments. He could take this information to managers of the technology department to develop an order tracking system clients could access online. The strategist may gather information about the client's needs and wants through techniques such as interviewing, feedback forms, surveys and reviews of the type and number of items sold.
What a technology strategist is able to do for a company is determined to a great extent by the company's budget and operational philosophies. For instance, if the company has suffered a profit loss in the previous year, the company might not be able to allocate as many resources to technology and technology strategy development. Thus, the strategist has to get information about the company's current financial status and why the company plans to allocate funds in a specific way before he can design an acceptable strategy. This information usually comes from managers of the finance department, as well as documents such as the company mission statement or project proposals.
Once a technology strategist has all the data he needs about the company, its clients and the company's competitors, he uses his knowledge about the company's products, services, market position and current budget and technology status to brainstorm ideas about how the company could approach technology. Each strategy that is developed has to show the risks, benefits, resources and opportunities available for the company clearly, so the strategist spends time getting his ideas in a presentable form, such as a formal report or presentation.
The next step for a technology strategist is to present his ideas to the managers of the company. During this presentation, the strategist's job is to make sure the managers understand the pros and cons of each strategy proposed. The strategist ultimately does not decide which strategy to follow, but because his insights have a huge amount of sway in the direction the managers take, the strategist has a powerful position within the company.
After the company has selected an appropriate technology strategy, the technology strategist moves on to the implementation and maintenance phases of strategy development. At this point, the strategist concentrates on purchasing and setting up the company's technology as discussed. If something doesn't work, the strategist has to troubleshoot and come up with a solution. He has to liaise with clients and suppliers to make this work and monitor results. The strategist may request reports from various departments within the company to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.
Technology is constantly evolving, so a major challenge a technology strategist has is that his strategies have to be easily adaptable to future technological advances. This is a conundrum because it is so difficult to predict what technology will arise or to determine by what point any new technology will be truly functional. Subsequently, even after the strategist has developed and implemented a technology strategy, he has to be on the lookout for more efficient options constantly. The strategist plays a key role in helping a company decide when and how to switch from one technology to another if necessary.