Incomplete IT strategic planning creates gaps that compromise business outcomes

Hidden in the gaps of your IT strategy lurk issues and risks that compromise organizations’ reliability and security goals.  Identifying these gaps is the first step in a Strategic Planning Process, and then prioritizing these gaps, and building a plan to address them is the foundation of your Strategic IT Roadmap.

Reliability Gap

Is it ready to perform?

Organizations dependence on their IT infrastructure, systems, and applications mean those IT components need to operate when you need them, which for most organizations is all the time.  Unfortunately, the investments in the requisite reliability is often hard to justify when IT’s value is underestimated in the boardroom.  When cost is the primary measure the first thing to slip is maintenance and resiliency.

The CPA Reports, SME owners and LOB management tend to be unaware of the full costs of IT. Unless it is clearly explained to them, they do not realize that maintenance and processing costs — necessary to sustain existing information systems and resilient IT opera­tions — account for fully 75% of IT’s yearly operational budget.

This does not have to mean giving the IT team a blank check, rather it emphasises the importance of a Strategic plan to see the big picture, prioritise the right things, and make the best choices.

Strategic planning provides the IT Director/Manager or CIO with a unique opportunity­ to sensitise business management to these costs as well as to their responsibility for funding them both for existing applications and infrastructures and for new systems development projects.

Without a IT strategic plan it is virtually impossible to identify those lurking issues and risks that could bring everything to a stop.

Security Gap

Is the system safe?

Security risks are keeping everyone up at night, so the lurking consequences of errors and ommissions in this part of IT systems have virtually everyone’s attention; however, awareness of the problem is just the first step in filling the gap.

Effectively responding to the threat is even more difficult when an organizations approach to IT solutions is ad hoc, as uncoordinated security selections tend to lead to too many point solutions and counter intuitively less security.

Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Reports have confirmed that the more security solutions selected, the greater the system’s complexity and the greater the security gap grows.

  • 55% of customers rely on more than 5 vendors to secure their network.
  • 54% of legitimate security alerts are not remediated due to lack of integrated defence systems.
  • 100 days is the industry average to detect a common threat.

Security demands a coherent, coordinated, and comprehensive strategic plan.  It also requires constant vigilance through the right metrics and active monitoring.  This requires a plan and a platform to support a constantly evolving threat landscape and effective responses.  Alignment and awareness between the management team and the IT team in this forum is essential.

Resource Gap

Does the organization have what it needs?

Reliability and Security Gaps primarily focus on policy, product, services and solutions in their discussions; however, it is almost universally true that SME’s with strategic IT plans have not matched their IT organization’s capacities, capabilities, or competencies to their resource investments.  In the majority of mid market organizations, the IT org chart has too few staff and significant competency gaps.  This is not a commentary on the war for talent as much as an observation that the internal skill set has not been matched to the business requirements.

IT systems are becoming increasingly complex and technicians are becoming more and more specialized.  Keeping individuals current is a constant training effort, but all that training only turns into knowledge when consistently and repeatedly applied in experience.

Without a coherent strategic planning view, and if the boardroom does not appreciate the significance of IT in their business, then resources tend to be stretched thin and full of lurking skill gaps that compromise both reliability and security objectives.

A strategic IT plan creates the platform to map requirements to capabilities and determine the best internal and external initiatives to ensure you have the right team to implement the plan.

Is it time to check your IT Alignment?