Strategic Planning

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I am surprised at how many IT organizations I know of that have not gone through a formal strategic planning process. I say process. The plan, yes, is important. The process though is more important.

There are many different types of organizations with their own types of IT. It isn’t universal. How does an integrated IT organization go about defining itself for the organization it serves if there is no strategic planning? Yet there are many like that. To me, an IT organization that doesn’t do strategic planning is an IT organization that is a rudderless ship. Sadly, this sometimes suffices because the organization itself doesn’t have high expectations. The risk for the CIO is that any change in management, any change in the economy, sometimes external forces, can bring about a change for you. That change will blindside you. Strategic planning will not prevent change. What it will do is create a definition for you and the people you serve that can be understood and ideally, bought into. Without that, you have the risk of those very people making decisions or moving in a direction that leaves you at the side of the road.

I qualify all the above with one caveat. I am fortunate enough to have a really good design team. Sophisticated businesses are a funny thing. For all the high talk about definitions, processes, engagement etc., the thing that gets noticed first is the proverbial “cover of the book”. Yes, have a solid strategic plan that engages your entire organization but do not forget to make it look good!

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