An IT strategy is a comprehensive plan that lays out specifically how technology will support your business strategy and help guide your organization toward its objectives over the next 3-5 years. Most organizations have some ideas about how IT can help them achieve their goals, but oftentimes they either overestimate the strength of their IT Strategy or underestimate the need for one. If you are unsure of whether your organization’s IT Strategy is up to par, consider the necessary IT Strategy development process outlined below.
Review the current state
The first step is to establish where your organization currently stands. Is there an existing IT Strategy in place? When was it last updated? What has changed since the last update? Are you satisfied with your current IT strategy? These questions need to be asked to determine a starting point for the development process and to get an idea of how much change is needed. Most organizations tend to overestimate the effectiveness of their IT Strategy at first glance. It is imperative to make this assessment honest and objective so that the effort put into IT strategy development is not wasted.
Understand the vision and organizational strategy
Once you have a clear picture of the current state, your organization must look at its future goals. It is vital to establish your organization’s vision and strategy, because supporting these long-term goals is the objective of the IT Strategy. Your vision may be somewhat vague, but there should be some more concrete strategic goals in place. If your organization’s long-term goals are not specific, it is difficult to align the IT Strategy to them. You must consider what is important to your organization, rather than focusing on urgency. Urgent issues are generally short-term and should not shape the entirety of your IT Strategy, because you will need to continue utilizing the strategy after these urgent issues are taken care of. This should be a high-level review that focuses on the big picture.
Review ongoing projects
After the high-level review, it is important to drill down more and review your ongoing projects. A review of ongoing projects focuses on exposing areas where your current IT Strategy is falling short. The first two steps are more theoretical in nature, but this step looks at specific cases where an improved IT Strategy would provide tangible benefits. This is a very valuable practice, because it will give your organization an even more precise understanding of your IT needs and capabilities. You need to gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your IT department to take advantage of the strengths and improve the weaknesses. Your organization must also do its best to predict future possibilities and vulnerabilities based on the performance in these ongoing projects.
Align with best practices and trends
The IT Strategy cannot be developed within the closed environment of the organization. To maximize its effectiveness, your organization must look at your industry’s best practices and current trends. Best practices are called best practices for a reason. Aligning your IT Strategy with such practices will produce better results and avoid many possible pitfalls. Similarly, an understanding of current trends in the industry will allow your organization to bring up its weak points or get a competitive edge. This step of the process also includes alignment with any laws or regulations that must be adhered to.
Most organizations have an IT Strategy that is lacking in at least some aspects. Many falsely believe that they have a strategy, when they only have a short-term roadmap. An IT Strategy goes beyond simple planning and outlines a ‘master plan’ that will guide management through any possible situation. An IT Strategy is vital in today’s digital age where almost all business functions are enabled by IT in some way.
At StratoGrid Advisory, we specialize in IT Strategic Planning that leverages the findings from your current strategy and aligns with the long-term strategic goals and requirements of your organization.
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