Need help writing a paper, after reading the information need help Preparing a description of the process for an Information Technology Executive in preparing a strategic IT Plan. The emphasis here is on the process of preparing the plan and how this process results in commitment to the plan.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PLANNING
Strategic planning is a process exercise where it is important to gather whatever strategic collateral the rest of the company has generated to understand what the CEO and board hope to do in the future through the enterprise-level strategy to see the priorities of the business units and functional heads through their divisional strategies. When speaking to executives, it is important to ask business rather than technology questions, as you do not want to devolve into a conversation about solutions they want. They should be encouraged to articulate how they see the world evolving, the opportunities that are ahead, and the threats they foresee. This input from the rest of the organization is the most important driver of IT strategy, but there are other sources that are necessary. Most companies have a portfolio of vendor partners that include infrastructure partners, software partners, managed services partners, and staff augmentation partners. These companies and individuals are also great sources of insight as they likely serve a variety of companies in your industry among others.
Asking them how they see the business and technology evolving can offer invaluable insights. Next, it is important to poll the company’s customers. Now many IT departments don’t have adequate customer touchpoints, which is a problem. It is essential that you and your team get out into the field, however that might be defined in your setting. Ask probing questions to find out what they think of your current technology offering, but also how they might wish that it would evolve. Ask them about how your technology compares to that of competitors. These sessions are likely to identify new, strategic ideas that can contribute to revenue growth, since it is those same customers who purchase your company’s products and services.
IT leaders should also maintain a broader ecosystem of partners including fellow IT executives, executive recruiters, and the venture capital community. Fellow IT executives can offer relevant insights that only a peer can provide. Executive recruiters can identify organizational trends, skill trends, and how best to develop a talent pipeline within and outside your company. Finally, venture capitalists can help you understand where smart money is being invested and how you can seize opportunities. With the inputs from each of those bodies taken into consideration, IT has most of the inputs necessary to develop its own strategy.
That said, well-organized IT departments will task different members of the team itself, either full-time or part-time into investigating, researching, and testing new technology. These are the people who will constantly monitor “the art of the possible.” They should be involved in the creation of the strategy as well. And they are likely to provide insights that can be used. It may be useful to provide an example to bring this to life a bit. Let’s say that your company has an enterprise-level strategy, as most do, to grow revenue.
The CIO and his or her team should understand the sources of that growth by going to the divisions of the company that are revenue-generating, including marketing, sales, product and services areas, and the like. Conversations with the executive teams of each of those areas will yield inputs that you can begin to document using your objectives, goals, tactics, and measures. Having members of your team taking notes in these conversations and then returning to those same executives with a better articulation of the plans should be a welcome set of activities by the heads of those various divisions.
Through these various conversations, you may come to realize that each of the revenue-centric divisions of the company plan on contributing to the revenue goal through increased mobile advertising, sales techniques, and products (for example), but IT doesn’t yet have ample mobile talent and technology. This is an indication that IT must formulate an IT objective along the lines of developing the mobile architecture of the future. It should then work with vendors, customers, the broader ecosystem, and within IT to develop the ideas that will become the tactics to accomplish this objective.
By ensuring that the enterprise, divisional, and IT strategies are connected in this way, IT can ensure that it is a profound source of strategic value for the company. Creating an IT strategy is all well and good, but how do you put it into action? How do you ensure that you are making progress toward the destination implied by the strategy? Your ally in this battle is structure. First, it is important that the IT strategy have a cascading structure from higher level objectives to finer tuned tactics. It is also important that there be key performance indicators or metrics. That which gets measured gets done, after all.
Objectives, goals, tactics, and measures
For orientation purposes, the IT department should have somewhere between four and seven objectives. You do not want too few, as that will be too limiting. And you do not want too many, as that will work against the focus that a good strategy should provide. Each objective should have one or two goals. Again, too many, and you cannot maintain the necessary focus. The tactics can be more plentiful, and during the brainstorming phase, definitely err on the side of more rather than fewer tactics.
After the list is finalized, the tactics should be prioritized. The prioritization should be based on which will be pursued today, which are likely to be pursued in the near term, which will be undertaken in the medium term, which will be undertaken later, and which may or may not be undertaken at all.
The same logic applies to measures. One or two should be the aim. The project portfolio should drive the strategic plan forward, and the strategy must be the driver of the projects and initiatives that the IT team pursues. In fact, solid ideas that have a positive return on investment should still not be pursued if they are not connected to the strategy.
Tactics and measures provide the best connection point for projects or initiatives. Begin with the existing portfolio of IT projects. It is likely that most projects will plot well. For those that do not, a conversation should take place about whether they should be continued. If the project is addressing a government regulation that was not anticipated in the strategy, then it should continue. There are likely to be a number of tactics that do not have projects associated with them. That’s a good thing, and suggests that the brainstorming session was more than simply an exercise in taking existing projects and retrofitting a strategy that makes the case for them. These unmet tactics are a great place to begin when dreaming up new projects during the next budgeting cycle.
It’s important to weigh the degree to which the projects accomplish what is suggested by the tactics and measures. “High” suggests that the tactic and measure will be fully met. A “low” designation suggests that it will contribute to accomplishing each, but it will be a small contribution. No surprise that the “medium” designation suggests the contribution will be somewhere in the middle. For those tactics and measures that only have projects that support them to a low or medium degree, it’s likely that additional projects will be needed and should be brainstormed in order to accomplish them fully.
The IT strategy should be evaluated on at least an annual basis and, naturally, tactics and measures will come and go more frequently than objectives and goals will. There may be new tactics that come up mid-year due to a change in economic outlook, a bold new product brought to market by a competitor, or the acquisition or divestiture of a business. By using the strategy as the starting point for the development of projects and by monitoring how effectively the strategy is being accomplished on a regular basis, IT will ensure that it delivers on all that it promises.
You just created your IT strategy for the year ahead or for the foreseeable future. Congratulations, but the hard work has only just begun. The strategy is not worth the paper it is printed on if it’s not implemented appropriately. Who is responsible for implementation? You? Your direct reports? Certainly, leadership plays an important role, but it needs to be everyone in IT from the individual contributors to the vendor partners you have engaged; therefore, the first step in executing a strategy is communicating it. What a simple step that might seem to be. You have created this strategy, realized it in a PowerPoint, and sent it off to the team, but do they understand it? Do they know which aspects they are meant to drive? Emailing it is not enough. Doing so only ensures that your team has received the strategy, but it does not guarantee that they understand it and are ready to deliver against it. It is important to translate it literally and figuratively with your team to ensure that everyone is pushing in the same direction. This requires three things: First, clarity of language used in the plan; second, a compelling narrative that includes threads from past plans to highlight the ongoing journey your IT department is on; and third, translation of that plan into the different languages represented across your company.
One of the greatest CIOs ever is Filippo Passerini. For years he was the CIO of Proctor & Gamble. That $65-billion colossus has operations in most countries of the world. And IT is almost as diverse in its coverage of the globe. When Passerini and his leadership team developed their IT strategy, it was translated into the relevant languages to be sure it was not open to multiple interpretations. He also made sure it was articulated in plain language rather than overly technical terms. Moreover, he ensured that there was a connection made between the current plan and past plans so that the team would understand how past work has led to the opportunities that now should be seized through the new strategy. He once told the story of how the strategy was released at the beginning of a week, and he flew from the company’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, to visit an operation in Turkey. Two days after the strategy’s release, the IT team there had internalized lessons of the strategy and could speak lucidly about its implications for them as a team and as individuals. This level of clarity should be your goal, too. You should consider creating an IT Communications Role. As the name suggests, this role is responsible for developing a communications strategy.
This person should think not only about the internal aspects of communications to colleagues within the company, but also external channels such as IT periodicals, podcasts, and opportunities for your executive team to speak at technology conferences. Just as internal communications ensure that your colleagues understand the strategy and are driving it forward, the external lens is essential for getting the word out to would-be customers, partners, and especially employees. Potential employees are likely to conduct a Web search for your team and your leaders during the recruiting process.
The more solid the description of the great things that your team is doing, the more likely great people will wish to join it. There are now a variety of new means of getting the word out about strategy that should be part of your arsenal. Podcasts are an example. Consider doing an internal podcast with some sort of regularity. Interview IT leaders about the strategy and progress made with it. Interview people in the field. Involve vendor partners and speak with customers. The diversity of perspectives will make the strategy stickier and more easily understood.
In the same vein, a video interview series released through your intranet is a good way to get the word out, perhaps involving a similarly diverse set of constituents. Traditional communications efforts such as newsletters and “all-hands” meetings for the entire team should continue, but recognize that these are foundational rather than game-changing efforts. A strategy understood by a few people may have a chance at an average result. A strategy understood and supported by an entire team has a much better chance of achieving remarkable results.
Suggestion: For a lengthy discussion, providing headings would be helpful.
When you have completed the background readings and the Module and Assignment Overview, and read the background material, compose a 4- to 5-page paper on the topic:
· Prepare a description of the process for an Information Technology Executive in preparing a strategic IT Plan. The emphasis here is on the process of preparing the plan and how this process results in commitment to the plan.
Submit your paper upon completion.
Use information from the modular background readings as well as any good quality resource you can find. Please cite all sources and provide a reference list at the end of your paper.
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Hyseni, F. (2015, February 17). SWOT analysis: How to do a SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, Porter 5 Forces [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/jhXlnvYZZQs