What Does Strategic Mean?

I'm listening to a presentation by David Chappell from Tech Ed. I'm sure it will result in a few blog posts or comments on the forums! Coincidentally, over the past few weeks we've been talking strategy and long term focus for a number of Internet.com sites including Codeguru. As such, it is interesting to hear David ask the question, "what does strategic mean?"

I'll admit that while I do tend to tie the meaning of strategic to meaning future plans, in truth, it doesn't have to be associated with future actions at all. Strategic tends to be used wrong. David comments that people use the phrase "strategic planning" to mean "long term planning." Of course, what strategic really means is "something that gives you differentiation." Business strategy is about giving yourself competitive advantage. That advantage comes from doing something different from your competitors. David nails this in his talk.

David goes on to discuss how IT is now a critical component to being strategic. As he says, "IT really does matter," and it does! This is because IT really does help companies differentiate what they do. In fact, IT provides innovation for the business. But that is another discussion!