The adoption of an IT strategy represents an important step in the transformation of organizations after its development. The success of an IT strategy is not only dependent on how detailed it is, but also on the measures and leadership styles at the various levels of its implementation.
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The paper discusses the various levels that leadership plays a crucial role in the adoption of a developed IT strategy. At the individual level, the proper leadership style is transformational, with this style being consistent in other levels of the organization.
The other levels discussed include organizational, traditional and virtual teams, department, inter-organization, partnership, and global ranks. For each level, the definition of the x, y, and z-axes is provided with a justification for each axis together with a proper leadership style for each of them. Transformational and democratic leadership styles are described as being important at the various levels.
This paper gives a particular way in which organizations may apply the detailed strategies that they develop in their Information Technology department to improve their performance and competitiveness with the use of Wal-Mart as a case example. The basic levels of application discussed include individual, group, organizational, departmental, traditional and virtual teams, inter-organizational, and partnership on the global front.
Initiatives to be implemented
The application of any Information Technology plan must be global in an organization. At all the relevant levels, an example of a strategic plan is that which the retail company Wal-Mart should adopt. The adoption of a leadership model is important in ensuring that the IT strategies can be followed through the standard means.
Different companies adopt different leadership models depending on their specific needs (Concepts of Leadership, 2013). Wal-Mart is described to have adopted the 3D IT leadership model, which will be important in the application of the IT strategy at the different levels discussed below.
At the individual level, each of the employees should have the IT strategies adopted before they (strategies) become organizational. In the over 10,000 associates that the company has in the combination of IT corporate office and corporate campus (Holmes, 2011), each of these individuals should be utilized to ensure that he or she has the core values of the strategy internalized. One of the important factors at the individual level is communication as shown below.
Source: (Concepts of Leadership, 2013)
Any organization should ensure that there is an individual effort to establish good communication culture (Heckman, 2012). Each individual should be able to communicate the basic components of the IT strategy to customers as well as other individuals within and outside the IT department. There is also the need for collaboration at this level (Drnevich, & McIntyre, 2010).
Some of the technological breakthroughs that must be embraced at the individual level in communication include the use of emails, call conferencing, video conferencing, and social sites among others (Makadok, 2011). In the application of the IT strategy at the individual level, an appropriate leadership style should be adopted.
On the X-axis, a transformational leadership style should be adopted (Kraaijenbrink, Spender, & Groen, 2010). This allows for the effective collaboration between individuals. The Y and Z-axes are also important to consider. An individual should also be driven by service to adopt the IT revolution that the strategy is likely to bring to the organization.
Wal-Mart has adopted a 3D leadership model in the organization, especially in the IT department. As an organization, certain measures are necessary for the integration of an IT strategy. These measures should be geared towards the attainment of the organizational and strategic goals. At this level, a customer information system is necessary. The organization should aim to adopt the latest changes to ensure that customers get the best service, including the automation of all processes and/or the use of online services.
The organization should also put updated infrastructure in place to facilitate the developed IT strategic plan. The personnel that the company employs serve in the various departments. They should be qualified and specialized in the application of the IT strategy. A customer information system such as the one that is already in place at Wal-Mart is another service that organizations should implement to enable customers access the services from any apart of the globe.
In the organization’s administrative functions, the right information systems should be in place (Bharadwaj, El Sawy, Pavlou, & Venkatraman, 2009).
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This plan should foster the latest technology, through planning and implementation of the revolutionary and contemporary inventions that are geared towards customer satisfaction, efficiency, and accessibility. The leadership that should be adopted at the organizational level is one that facilitates the adoption of the IT strategy. It should be democratic to allow the impending change.
The leadership should also be ready to invest financially in the project to facilitate its adoption. On the X-axis, the organization should adopt collaboration with likeminded individuals and organizations. On other axes, the organization should collaborate with executives in other IT firms both in and out of the industry.
Some of the important measures that should be adopted to oversee the successful implementation of the strategy at the organizational level include a working and efficient management team, employees devoted to the organization, and effective time management (Kranz, 2013).
The IT Department
This department plays the most important role in the development and application of any strategic IT plan. Companies such as Wal-Mart have well-established IT departments with the capability of independently developing a model for the application of an IT strategy (Vitorino, 2012). The major role that the department will play is in the improvement of the IT infrastructure, including the creation and management of a working website for the organization.
The department should also adopt a transformational and democratic leadership style to oversee the adoption of these changes. The leadership should also be focused on strengthening the brand of the company through the utilization of technological innovation such as the website.
Some of the other measures include the use of online managers to manage relations with customers and/or handle all organizational transactions. The website that the organization develops should also be reliable and easy to use for customers, with an attractive look that integrates the company’s goals and values.
The department should also invest in qualified personnel that should be trained on the use of the latest technology and internet services. Leadership at this level should be transformative on the X-axis and facilitative to the overall change to be adopted. The essential infrastructure that the company should maintain and/or invest in includes the hardware and software infrastructure to run the network.
The department should also be a leader in the organization in the use of IT services. On the Y dimension, the department should be collaborative with the larger organization and other departments on the Z dimension. The justification for this plan is that the collaboration will provide a framework for developing the necessary implementation policies for the IT strategy. Wal-Mart is one of the organizations that have adopted a 3D leadership model in the IT department.
Traditional and Virtual Teams
It is imperative for organizations to set up teams to oversee the implementation of the IT strategy. Some of these teams are traditional and virtual. Nevertheless, they should work in collaboration with other teams within the department and organization.
The traditional and virtual teams are necessary in the development of the necessary infrastructure such as the wireless and wired networks to be used within the organization and in the department. These teams should have leadership styles that are complementary to the one within the organization as well as other relevant levels. The main role should however be the consolidation of servers for the efficient running of the network.
In the current global economy, no organization is independent of the others. In the development of strategies, consideration should be made to the related organizations. One of the most commonly utilized inter-organizational policies in the IT sector is the electronic data interchange (EDI) (Kaplan, & Haenlein, 2010), which allows room for the networking of organizations to improve relationships in their IT sectors.
Some of the significant impacts that the adoption of the EDI will have include changes in the social and operational fronts (Kaplan, & Haenlein, 2010). Application of IT strategies between organizations within the same industry represents an X-axis relationship while the Y-axis relationship is represented by the relationship between organizations in different industries or sectors. The leadership adopted in at this level should also be transformative. Organizations should also be democratic in their interactions.
The aim of applying an IT strategy in the inter-organizational level is to reduce the costs of inter-organizational operation. According to Yue, this strategy is effective (2012). In the case of Wal-Mart, the presence of inter-organizational collaboration in the application of IT strategy should be consistent with the 3D model of leadership adopted in the organization. The leadership type that should be adopted should be visionary and democratic as it is in other levels.
Leaders in the IT department and/or at the highest level of the organization should embrace partnership with other organizations to oversee the implementation of the IT strategy. The main types of organizations of relevance are the other organizations involved in information technology and those that apply it. One benefit that such collaboration has to an organization is the reduction in operational costs (Harris, 2011).
Collaboration on this field will also enable improved competitive advantage where an organization is able to invest in structures to compete in the IT sector. Organizations such as Wal-Mart and leaders in them should adopt certain values to oversee the implementation of the IT strategy.
Wal-Mart has such values in its operational strategies that reveal how principles of integrity, justice, and impartiality direct the industry to guarantee that its parties uphold the faith of its investors. This resolution is important in partnership and in the application of the IT strategy.
Conclusion: Global Level
On the global front, organizations should adopt a leadership model that allows easy adoption of the most recent technological innovation to compete with others. Leaders at the various levels should be involved in the development of a global IT-targeted policy. The global economy is embracing IT.
No organization should be left behind in this venture, as its competitiveness will reduce. The kind of leadership that should be adopted in this area is one of collaboration. The 3D model applied in the IT department for Wal-Mart is representative of this claim.
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