As an IT Manager, one of your most important and challenging annual tasks is to create an IT Strategy for your business. While it might be your tenth time...
IT strategy template
What components should be included in your strategic IT plan?
We’ve covered what an IT strategic plan is, as well as what the benefits are of having one, but how do you create an IT Strategy?
Your IT plan should cover these broad topics:
• Goals & objectives
• Current IT review
• Vision for the future
• Prioritisation and listing key projects
• Future requirements
• IT roadmap
• Success and performance metrics
• Budget and projected costs
Developing a strategic IT plan doesn’t have to be complex task. Here are some other core components needed to meet the needs of a business:
• Align with the goals of the business - we’ve touched on this in our previous blog already, but your IT Strategy must align with your business goals and objectives.
• Current IT review: looking at best practice, IT governance & your IT service catalogue – this section of the strategy should identify gaps in your IT’s infrastructure, such as where it does not adhere to best practices, and then addresses how this will change.
While it’s unrealistic for best practices to be adopted straightaway, this component should outline the journey. Similarly, IT governance policies and procedures must be assessed against the organisation with an evaluation of initiatives, governance gaps and what the plans are for improvement.
By cataloguing all the IT services, you can ensure they are lined up with the needs of the business. Gaps will also be identified and then a plan formulated for how to improve the gaps.
• Addresses long-term initiatives & outlines vision for the future – a good IT Strategy should map out long-term initiatives and how to implement them.
For example, if one of your business strategies is to enhance your customer digital experience, then you’ll want to develop your website, mobile apps and even make use of other digital assets to meet that business goal. In order to achieve this, you’ll need to ensure your IT department is equipped with relevant skilled people and tools, or training and processes are provided.
• Clear & transparent communication plan – the types of elements involved will be assessing the current communication, the channels currently used to keep customers or staff informed, and any changes as well as how the organisation is going to get there.
• Technology roadmap – technology is constantly evolving. Opening up new opportunities to provide better, faster and a cost-effective service.
An IT roadmap could follow this structure: objective > type > people > structure and process > integration
• Success and performance metrics – this component will be made up of IT principles, metrics, and financials, all outlining how the IT department measures success. The key question to answer here will be: what performance indicators guide your business to continuously improve?
Developing a comprehensive and successful IT Strategy plan can be challenging, especially when you must balance your team’s ambition against budget and the resources available to bring it to life.
As expected, the strategy will go through various stages and drafts, undergo review from senior leadership before a firm plan is settled upon that works for IT and the business.
Creating an IT Strategy can seem like a daunting process, however, with a little external help from an IT strategic consultancy service, it can easily be achieved – transforming your IT from a reputation of insignificance or annoyance to one that is an essential and integral part of your business.
What makes a good or successful IT Strategy?
Successful IT strategies are:
Focused on the strategic element & don’t get lost in the tactical detail
While a strategy is a guide and does provide both decisions and allows the implementation of solutions, it should be treated as a framework. Therefore, it must be high-level, not focus on too much detail nor on the tactical. While tactics help support the overall strategy, these are subject to change – strategic plans can sometimes fail when they get lost in the detail.
Business and IT plans change, and unfortunately the unexpected must mean that the strategy has to be open to adaption. It cannot be rigid and must be flexible to accommodate change.
A strategy can be helpfully viewed as a process, not a one-off. This means that it has to be revised regularly. Sometimes businesses prefer to write a 5-year strategic plan, every year. A successful IT plan should allow for updates and adapt to changes within the market. It considers, and reconsiders, what the future may hold for IT and aligns with the IT and business resources of today.
Shared amongst all affected, not restricted
The most successful IT strategies facilitate internal company transparency and are not restricted to the senior leadership only. By publishing the document without hierarchical limits, and making it non-restrictive, it allows all those affected to be more receptive during implementation. Essentially, anyone expected to implement the strategy, should understand and see it.
Need help developing your IT Strategy? At Bluecube we provide IT strategic consulting service; this means we can work with you, or your IT department, to create and deliver an IT strategic plan that is tailored to your requirements and organisation.
We don’t believe that one-size-fits all; instead, we prefer a bespoke and personal approach to IT. Give us a call on 0845 257 8010, fill out our online enquiry form, or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and one of our team will be in touch with you shortly.