This is the third part of the Analysis section in our mock I.T. Strategic Plan. This section is all about observing and assessing what you have and what assets you may have. You might call it an inventory of which gives you a high-level snapshot of your organization, assets, liabilities and so on. Again, I am not going into great detail in these posts, they are intended to be quick references to give you an idea of what might go into each area and section of your plan.
This part is called Core Competencies, here are a couple of possible entries for your consideration:
1. Good people; qualified, experienced and possibly well trained.
2. Infrastructure; This would be software and hardware that is well integrated.
3. Ability to relate or communicate the services that IT can provide
4. You may have adequate funding available to meet objectives
Again, each of these are just examples of what might be in this part of your plan. The list can be as long as you want it but most likely you will only have a few items to enter here. I.T. Plans take very different shapes depending on the organization and who is building it, it’s a perspective and point of view…or a summary of how you see the needs of the organization and how you view the use of technology.
Next I will go over S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Another area of observation and reflection, until next time.
We looked at Markets in the 1st part of the Analysis section of our plan, and in this post I want to share with you about Key Success Factors you’ll want to identify for your I.T. Strategic Plan. Every business has them and some even know what they might be but many don’t, these are things that you believe you are delivering or close to delivering at 100% in your organization. These would indicators that allow the organization to have a high level of productivity. You might think hiring smart people would fit in here but they don’t, they actually fall under the next category in our Analysis called Core Competencies.
Think of this area similarly to fixed assets that can be modified or changed, (sounds like an oxymoron but…) here are a few to consider:
1. Application software availability approaching 100%
2. Network availability approaching 100%
3. Provide Infrastructure and tools for appropriate access to data by staff
Those may be reasons why your organization is able to function at a higher level of productivity, resulting in greater results and possibly profitability. Again, only you and your team can decide what these Key Success Factors might be, they are important to making your case when securing your next years budget. The entire I.T. Strategic Plan plays a huge role in your budget and your job security over the next 3 – 5 years.
Even having a rough draft of your I.T. Strategic Plan gives you a solid view of what your organization is doing and or shifting towards, and to meet customer demands. Consider how this allows you to see patterns and an opportunities, giving you ample time to make adjustments before delivering this plan to executives and board of directors. Regardless of who you have to deliver this message to, the exercise helps you and your team more, it’s a guide or a map of where you are going and what you need to do.
Your primary customers that can undo you the fastest are those you work closest with, staff and field staff, word of mouth there needs to be top drawer or you’ll have a short window of opportunity to do what you do best. Customer support on ALL levels has to be the best you can provide to prevent a change you can’t control.
In the next session I’ll touch on Core Competencies.
We are at the observation or Analysis part of our I.T. Strategic Plan, this area can have many or a few sections, I am listing possible categories or subsections for you to review and consider, and then I will look at each one separately. In this section we will look at the following:
2. Key Success Factors
3. Core Competencies
4. S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)
5. Possible Interrelationships
6. Budget Alignments
7. Planning Observations
These may be the same for you or you may have different categories but you get the idea, all of these mini-descriptions I have been laying out for you, are a framework to work from. The first one we’ll look at today is Markets, we need to determine who your supporting and or selling to internally and externally.
Depending on how your organization is structured will determine who is who. For example, if your organization has an HQ (Headquarters), multiple businesses under one umbrella, Field staff and customers, you will need to identify who they are and what they do from an access point of view. Each market will require levels of access and different types of information, it could be sales reports, personal data and or customer’s wish to track & see there purchase history.
One market would be internal HQ staff, another would be field staff, if you have multiple companies or offices with multiple databases you would have to break those independent units down. Documentation becomes critical here because you must know exactly what they need, access points, security, data requirements and so on. As you can see this can be a very laborious pile of work, that’s where your work earlier with department heads and subject matter experts pays off. You would already have a requirements document and a wish list, that would be your starting point to map out the details.
Identifying your markets means you most likely understand all the different complex levels of need. For example, HQ staff will want quick access to the seamless information, e.g. a full 360 degree look at a customer, maybe their personal data or a staff member. Field staff who are stretched for time and resources want strong productivity tools. To be able access financial documents and other required reports. This could also serve as clear evidence that you are indeed providing for and supporting staff in the field. Your I.T. Plan can solve a number of technical challenges but it can also restore or maintain confidence in HQ for those who do not work in the Mother Ship. By providing multiple levels of service and support, is the best PR money can buy, provide the best service and all will speak highly of you and your team.
Next I’ll look at the Key Success Factors section.