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Chapter 2. What's Corporate Strategy Got... > Understanding Your Company's Strateg... - Pg. 24

What's Corporate Strategy Got To Do With IT? 24 of making a meaningful contribution to your company (and let's face it, to your own career as well). While there is a growing trend toward charging for internal IT functions as a way of exposing or accounting for the true cost of IT, it's not clear which way this trend will go. You might find it useful to calculate the internal cost and apportion it to the various corporate departments, but unless IT is adding value and seen as strategic, all you're really doing is buying yourself a bit of time or shifting costs around on the balance sheet. There's nothing wrong with accurately accounting for costs, but don't look to this to save your IT department. IT managers need to manage differently in today's world. It's not enough to come up with a budget and do a great job with service levels. Successful IT managers understand that they must find ways to add value to the company and to effectively communicate that value to key corporate executives and managers. Otherwise, the long-held perception that IT is nothing but a cost center will continue to thwart genuinely innovative and strategic IT initiatives. Understanding Your Company's Strategies In this next section, we're going to discuss ways to look at and uncover your company's current strategies. We're doing this for two reasons. First, corporate strategy is not always well defined and second, it's sometimes not formally stated. In order to align your IT strategies with corporate strat- egies, you have to know what those corporate strategies are. The expectation isn't that you're going to go on a mission to develop your company's strategies, just that you're going to do a bit of research and a bit of thinking about these issues so you can begin to align your IT efforts in that direction. Don't get overwhelmed thinking you have to go do all these things--these are tools you can use if and when you need them. Your job is not to single-handedly develop your company's strategies, but if you don't understand where your company is headed, you have a very slim chance of aligning your IT strategies to your company's strategic objectives. Read through this section, but don't turn