Spring is the perfect time to look at your long-term strategic IT planning
With winter ending and spring coming, its time to start planning for the future. Tactical planning is good for the day-to-day challenges and opportunities, but strategic planning is needed to win in the long term. Now is a great time to put your 2014 strategic plan in place.
A large number of businesses are locked into tactical planning and execution mode and have scuttled or shelved their strategic plans because they see their national and global economies crawling along. While a shift to tactical plans may be needed to address the current economic headwinds, strategic plans should not be scrapped.
Instead, business and those in charge of IT should be revising their strategic plans so they accommodate the current business demands. This planning needs to occur in the context of addressing IT pain points and growth requirements.
The strategic plan should address:
- Current tactical business and IT requirements
- Long-term architectural, business
- Services and security objectives
Unfortunately, most companies lack consistent, overarching architectures, management tools, processes, and standards that address their company communications, data-center, data-processing and information-management infrastructures. This lack of consistency drives up IT costs and impairs ITs ability to respond quickly to change. IT executives must put in place flexible architectures, management tools, processes, and standards that minimize complexity and enable IT to deal with rapidly changing business demands and goals.
Challenging Times Require Dual Focus
Most companies today have rebounded from the financial crisis but are still dealing with the financial challenges and structural changes driven by the global economic doldrums, competition, globalization, the Internet, divestitures, and/or mergers and acquisitions. This state of flux, which will not abate over the next few years, creates a major challenge for those responsible for IT who are striving to satisfy business requirements and strategies by putting in place an agile IT infrastructure.
A flexible infrastructure that meets today's needs but is flexible enough to address future demands, regardless of future organizational direction, is required for companies to remain competitive but resource constraints prevent many in IT from delivering on that need. Nevertheless, they should be examining various strategic planning IT components so they can develop the best tactical and long-range strategies possible, given their current constraints.
The good news is that spring is the time most organizations and business owners put time aside to revise their strategic plans. Therefore, those responsible for IT can get involved with plans that are currently being shaped or are in flux. Hence, its an excellent time to work with all the decision makers in a company to influence change, introduce new technology options and incorporate new corporate directions into the IT agenda.
About the author
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.
He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions.