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The challenge… 100 days and counting – How to create a winning IT Strategy Approach

Winning the IT Strategy Award at the annual IT Strategy Conference in Munich from Germany’s leading business paper “Handelsblatt” at the end of January this year was a very proud moment when our work in the Global IT Strategy & Operations office over the last 2-3 years was recognized externally.

We were praised for the fact that our Global IT Strategy is clearly supporting SAP’s strategic 2015 goals, that we are driving business innovation as a strategic core element and that we involved all relevant stakeholders from the beginning in our planning in a highly collaborative manner. With that, Global IT is seen as best-in-class in terms of strategy and execution.

Now, what do I have to do with this? Well, I’m making sure that we are continuously following our proven track record in strategy planning, cascading and execution as Vice President and Head of IT Strategy & Operations at SAP Global IT.

To discuss what we have done further I wanted to share in a series of blogs some of our insights and experience. In this blog I will focus on the importance of the first 100 days in developing a strategy.

I have observed it many times – and having tried it out by myself – you can trust me: if you take over a large organization, the first 100 days are the most important ones. In these first weeks it is acceptable and ok to say that you are not fully on an operational level and you are not in every detail of your daily topics – This is a unique chance to reserve major time blocks in your calendar to work on strategic questions together with your key stakeholders and your teams.

It is the perfect opportunity to get to know all your important stakeholders, and while you are doing it, directly ask them to assess the As-Is Situation and gather their expectations moving forward. After you do that – to turn it into action: share and work with your team to identify the real strategic issues. There will be a lot of tactical and operational ones, which should be directly handed over into the line organization. But the real strategic issues, they need to stay on you and your team’s daily agenda for the next weeks. These issues and derived strategic measures will be included in your Strategy. At the end of the 100 days, you will then have formed the key levers of your strategy and you will use these levers going forward for the next 1-3 years… so be aware to identify the right ones!

But you will have help: because you involved your stakeholders from the beginning, you have the collaborative and supportive set up behind you to bring it to a success.

I hope you can feel my passion for the 100 day approach – now let’s give that thought a chance and let me know what you think. Do you agree with this approach? What have you experienced?

In my next blog I will set out what we have taken care of, once you are sitting with your stakeholders first time together…

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      Author's profile photo Volker Haentjes
      Volker Haentjes

      Great post, Christine. You're definitely right, you have only one chance to make a good first impression. And after that, it's all about "first things first".

      To me, strategy is a sounding term by itself, it always has the connotation of importance. And business innovation wouldn't work without strategy at all.

      However, in the end it's also execution and governance that matter to ensure tangible results, otherwise strategy easily remains just a fluffy term for something that should be...

      Having that said, I do look forward to your next blog posts, I'm eager to learn how SAP Global IT does on IT strategy.