12 Steps to an Effective IT Strategy – Defining your Roadmap and Multi-Year Plan

photo credit: Canned Muffins via photopin cc

photo credit: Canned Muffins via photopin cc

In the final stage of the process you should be looking at defining your roadmap and multi-year plan. i.e.  how you plan to move forward with your IT strategy in the future. This blog completes the steps recommended for an effective IT strategy.

With an idea of the target vision for the IT systems and services the final step to a comprehensive strategy is to define the steps and to implement it.  It is not just sufficient to say what changes will be made but also to define how the services will evolve to improve costs, provide a costs benefit against business targets and how service levels will be adjusted. Ideally at each step behaviour changes in the organisation and changes to process flows will be needed too.

Step 3a – Phasing change the complexity landscape

Taking each of the changes needed, phasing them by annual delivery periods and documenting them onto the landscapes will show the stages to the delivery of your target IT vision.  Key decisions will be the phasing of each change relative to each other, which will involve cost benefit calculations as to which will bring the earliest benefit balances by critical market and business needs.

Step 3b – Understanding cost evolution

No strategy can be complete without both a multi-year cost plan and a full cost justification by cost benefit of each investment.  The collation of each the cost benefit, impact of each investment and the investment cost required will give a complete multi-year picture of cost evolution.  Clearly this can be a basic and fast process but the more detailed and diligent the approach the better the results and forecast.

Step 3c – Understand the benefits to business targets

Documenting the expected benefits from the changes stage by stage with how the business goals will be met in stages is critical to getting executive buy in to the strategy.  Any strategy that is not presented in the context of how it will meet the overall business targets does not deserve to get sponsored. Measuring the impact of each change on each business objective even qualitatively will assist to achieve sign off.

Step 3d – Understanding evolution of service level and processes 

Finally, every change will require alterations to processes and will result in service level adjustments.  The completed strategy will identify the main changes expected and document (or at least outline) how the processes and behaviour will change and what impact this will have on service delivery.

This and the previous three blog posts complete the process. By completing the 12 steps in this IT strategy template an executive can deliver a complete IT strategy for an organisation.  Our IT strategy tool www.strategy4it.com has been built to assist with this process, it models the first stage assessment and can assist with decision making in stages 2 and 3.


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