“We had some great documentation but it is now out of date from all the changes we made in the past years”
How many times do we put the effort into constructing something only for the projects we run to invalidate it. This is especially the case with operational documentation. Organisations get it in place for a whole host of reasons but so many just ignore updating it when they run a project which becomes a false economy as the update job will happen at some time. Once they are established in a job, the organisation forgets that useful asset and ignores it when they make changes to the way they work.
Those of you familiar with this blog know that a recurring theme in our posts is planning ahead and being proactive. We like to think that strategy is a living process in organisations and not a one off and random act. Well sadly in many, and especially in big organisations, planning ahead strategically can be sadly lacking. Continue reading →
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.
This blog post explores the second of three stages of my twelve step process towards an effective IT strategy. At this stage we look at defining the target IT landscape you would ideally like to achieve with your strategy.
At the heart of any strategy is the target landscape of systems and services that needs to be built in order to achieve the business goals. It is absolutely critical that this landscape is built not on the whims of individual departments and characters (including the CIO) but in a more holistic way aligned to the business objectives and also in a way to resolve specific issues. The old saying “if it aint broke don’t fix it” goes a long way in this stage.
This blog post underlines in importance of what I see as the first of three stages in completing an effective IT strategy – understanding where you are. Keep checking back for the second and third steps in the process.
Some consultants will call this “as now” or “current state” analysis. Whatever you call it, the critical point is that you must understand where you are and what you have before you can write any strategy to change it. Firms have all sorts of inventories but rarely have a good understanding of the systems and services they have, and more importantly how effective they are in terms of meeting business goals.
There is no magic formula for creating an effective IT strategy, and the process can sometimes be long and seemingly never-ending without solid and experienced advice. There are a number of over-arching guiding steps and processes that can be applied to create one for a firm. Working as and with consultants for many years I have managed to refine the key principles into 12 steps that provide method, focus and structure to delivering an effective strategy. Using this experience we have been able to create a template for IT strategy and use it in real world case studies to deliver effective decisions on strategy.
Using our method there are three phases to creating the framework needed for an IT strategy. Simply put, these are: assess where you are, set on your targets and decide on your roadmap to get there.
As a child, I remember very well entering a kite-flying competition; I had a great kite and was certain that I was in with a good chance to winning. However, an hour after the start, my kite string was in such a knotted muddle I spent the rest of the day depressed, desperately trying to untangle it just to get started. I am not sure we ever unravelled the string and I certainly did not get the kite off the ground. What has that got to do with IT strategy? Well, have you ever been presented with one of those wonderful IT system spaghetti diagrams, showing how all the systems and IT components interface together? I suspect if you have you feel rather like I did as a child, unravelling the knots in all that string just trying to get started. The sheer tangled mess of your IT complexity hides the real questions and hinders the decision making.