IT Planning and IT Systems are mission critical.
When IT systems or IT planning stops, operations have two options: full stop or dead slow. Businesses today depend on their IT Systems. Despite this significance of IT systems, many boardrooms do not include a dedicated IT voice, and many business strategies do not include a formal IT strategy.
The impact of an IT Strategy Alignment Gap
Important stuff gets missed when IT is not effectively represented in the board room and the IT strategy is not aligned with the business strategy. In these situations, IT prioritization and decision making are hampered by a lack of a big picture view of the business strategy’s needs. This often leads to focusing on the wrong things and missing more important items until it is too late. This means the IT organization and business in general is often stuck in a reactive fire fighting mode instead of proactively enhancing IT’s value to the business.
Which one are you?
The CPA describes business today as falling into three IT planning categories: Absent, Defensive, or Offensive.
- Absent: IT is not found at the management planning level. The Senior Leadership Team does not include an IT specialist. IT is not accounted for as a strategic asset.
- Defensive: IT is seen as a reliability and security issue. Decision making is typically reactive. IT is represented within the portfolio of an executive at the C-Suite, typically a CFO, occasionally a COO, and potentially the CEO. Strategic planning with these roles is more formalized then the category above, but IT considerations have at best a passive influence on that planning.
- Offensive: IT is a strategic asset and seen as a source of business innovation and digital transformation. There will be a dedicated domain specialist at the strategic planning and management table as in a CIO. In the ultimate realization IT is its own Line of Business with responsibility to drive strategic discussions and contribute to building a vision for competitive advantage in the future.
Regardless of your current IT planning posture, the opportunity of an IT strategy planning process is to provide alignment, transparency, and control. The IT strategy plan must be written in plain business language and describe how the information systems will service the business needs.
IT strategic planning is critical to business continuity and success today.
Alignment and investment decisions need to be in the boardroom. To make that happen requires a simple, easy to understand, business language-based IT strategy planning process. Next Dimension has developed a successful process for private enterprises; the IT Roadmap. This plan meets organizations where they are, be it Absent, Defensive, or Offensive, and delivers the strategic plan these businesses require in order to be successful.