Case Study: IT Strategic Planning Means Listening to Users
A client was facing imminent growth and fluctuation in business direction. Information technology is an important toolset, is varied, and is used at every level of the organization. The IT Manager asked me to prepare an IT strategic plan to help guide the projects and priorities of the IT department for the next 1-3 years.
- In person interviews with everyone and solicit candid feedback regarding the IT systems and processes that are used. What works well? What needs to be improved? Interviews also explored workflow and information sharing, a challenge in any company with diverse technical and scientific requirements.
- Prepare draft situational assessment and review with key stakeholders
- Prepare recommendations for strategic ‘projects’ to be addressed in order of priority to meet the greatest need first. Obtain approval to proceed from CEO.
- Evaluate progress at year-end to determine success of projects and revise plan for year – 2 and 3
- Interviews were quite revealing, in fact, each one revealed some ‘new’ information that was not previously known.
- Strong management support for not only IT improvement projects, but also initiatives to improve knowledge sharing and communication (lunch-and-learn sessions, video conference calls with remote operations).
- Improvements to business processes and IT systems were so successful, the client embarked on the same detailed assessment for a second year to accurately reassess changes in priorities now that the company is operating ‘differently’ than before.
For this company that underwent a significant transformation as a result of the strategic plan in the first year, decided to complete the same strategic planning exercise at the end of the year to assess new ‘priorities’.