Strategic Planning For Technology: Why Are Many Technology Plans "dust Catchers"?
Why do many strategic plans for technology become ineffective "dust catchers", on a shelf, not used by the organization? By the way, this malady isn't peculiar to just technology plans!
Strategic plans for technology document the mission, vision, and goals for the use of technology in an organization. I'm going to discuss the anatomy of an effective strategic plan for technology and some common mistakes to avoid in developing one.
The technology plan must support the business strategy of the organization. It must add value to the business, not implement technology for technology's sake. It must ensure alignment with the business planning by being part of the planning effort. Many times the technologists implement new technology that other companies have used and that they think will help. It might be the latest, coolest stuff, but may not be related to your business' plans.
FedEx's package tracking is a good example of IT adding value to the organization. Their on line package tracking became an industry-leading discriminator that made them more competitive. WalMart's point of sale computer connection with their suppliers' computers enabled them to lower their inventory and their prices.
Now that our plan adds value by supporting the organization's plans, let's talk about how to "sell" it to the rest of the organization.
There must be support for the plan across the organization or it won't be taken seriously. The support of top leadership is necessary to obtain funding and to make sure that the technology plan is among the top priorities. To do this it must address and support the company's business strategy by being an enabler of lowering cost or adding strategic market value.
A good strategic plan takes input from all stakeholders to gather information on direction, issues and problems that could be improved by technology solutions and to garner their buy-in and ownership.
So...what signifies a good or bad technology strategic plan?
A good plan:
Provides direction and guidance to the technology organization
Is visionary in using current and future technology
Manages the risks of "bleeding edge" technology (not ready for prime time)
Documents long-term plans for technology by documenting a road map of what technology is strategic, obsolete, emerging
Adds value to the organization in a way that's visible (obvious) to the leadership and the rest of the organization
Many strategic plans become dust catchers because they:
Don't add value to the business, or the value isn't intuitively obvious to anyone outside technology
Don't align with the business planning in terms of supporting the organization's objectives
Don't have the support of top leadership in order to gain funding
Don't have buy-in of it's stakeholders
Don't document a "road map" of the use of current and future technology to meet the needs of the business
I hope you'll take this humble advice and develop a good technology strategic plan.
Bad plans that gather dust and add little or no value to the organization aren't much fun and are a waste of time.
About the Author:
Paul Lubic is a seasoned IT guy who's used computers at home for many years. He uses his blog site to pass on lots of valuable information that you can use in your home computing endeavors. Check back often to see what he's up to at Paul's Home Computing Blog at http://www.paulshomecomputingblog.wordpress.com . Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable. Paul E. Lubic, Jr. email@example.com
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