Leaders: Are you asking the right IT questions?

balanced spheres

Balancing long-term and short-term investments in technology is a key strategy for organizations to become “technology winners," according to McKinsey & Company. Some others:

Identify opportunities and threats over a multi-year plan.

Continually assess capabilities to effectively use technology.

Create accountability for IT activities.

Understand the scope of IT risks.

In making major IT investments, McKinsey & Company warns, there are critical questions that too often go unasked.

Although the management consulting firm's list is aimed at private-sector boards of directors, most of the questions make sense for senior agency leaders as well.

The article suggests these "do-or-die" questions that executives should ask IT managers:

  •  Do our business plans reflect the full potential of technology to improve our performance?
  •  Is our portfolio of technology investments aligned with opportunities and threats?
  •  How will IT improve our operational and strategic agility?
  •  Do we have the capabilities required to deliver value from IT?
  •  Who is accountable for IT and how do we hold them to account?
  •  Are we comfortable with our level of IT risk?

The full list, with additional explanation, can be found on the McKinsey website.

About the Author

Natalie Lauri is an editorial fellow at FCW. Connect with her on Twitter: @Nat_Lauri.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group