Strategic Technology Risks

Patrick McConnell

This chapter will describe some of the many ways that technology strategies can fail, especially those that impact the achievement of strategic business objectives. The chapter will first introduce some key concepts, including: strategic technology risk; strategic technology positioning risk; strategic technology execution risk; strategic technology governance risk; and strategic technology operations risk (STOR). A new model will be developed that organises these concepts into a high-level strategic technology risk management framework (STRMF).


In 1995, Martin Cobb, CIO of the Treasury Board of Canada, elucidated what has become known as Cobb’s paradox: “We know why projects fail, we know how to prevent their failure – so why do they still fail?”. Many years later, Cobb’s question has unfortunately still not been answered satisfactorily, and despite much head scratching and hard work, IT project failure rates remain stubbornly high. There have been numerous studies into the failures of IT projects (more properly “programmes”), although few have looked at the problem from either a strategy or risk perspective. Research has tended to

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