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.
Do you work for an organization that has multiple locations and or field staff, and do whatever HQ (the mother ship) tells you to do because that’s the way it is. You have to use their system, which tools to use, and they never ever ask you what you really need to get the job done right. If they do, nothing happens normally and the frustration continues. Are you continually fighting to be heard and have given up because HQ doesn’t seem to be listening?
There has always been a disconnect in most organizations with this kind of structure, mostly because they are out of sight and out of mind. It’s a long distance relationship, these relationships break down quickly and create a lack of trust for the reason’s I mentioned earlier. The key to solving this breakdown takes effort from all parties involved, but in the end, someone from Headquarters must take the time to truly care and put forward solutions for everyone not just HQ. Lip service is a short-term time buyer, but you will lose trust with remote locations and field staff if you don’t deliver, once again you will be part of the problem not the solution. CIO’s & I.T. Leaders must go to the distance, go to the remote offices and take inventory of the desired needs and the requested functionality. Sit down and truly listen so you can get a more accurate picture, this action alone can build trust just because you made the effort to invest in those that feel they’re not being heard.
This is an opportunity, not an opportunity to buy time, get votes or support, but to deliver or you are done. You are fighting politics, which means you must get the popular vote or life gets interesting.To do get the popular vote you must be a person of your word, that’s it! I didn’t say it was going to be easy, it’s the nature of people you are up against. Authoritative attitudes no longer have a place, organizations now are WOM (Word Of Mouth) driven and as you know, it can kill you just as fast as it helps you. As we get more and more connected Headquarters can no longer turn a blind I or just give lip service. Today’s Social Media Networks feed into instant gratification, we have made communication instant, meaning you don’t have the luxury of time anymore. Kill or be killed.
Businesses have a LifeStream and this stream is the tool of choice for the masses to share, to collaborate and make decisions. Beware the LifeStream, be aware that “we the people” are turning the tables, the power is no longer in the hierarchy of organizations…it’s at the ground level. The flattening is happening at a rapid pace all over the world, the Internet is the game changer and the people are not only watching, they are listening, and then they are acting. With this new found power, organizations must become more transparent, deliver on promises, and more importantly, treat staff the same as a valued customer.
So how do you get there, how do you make the shift? Each organization will figure it out in the traditional way before they get it right in a social way, they will deal with the squeaky wheel first before they sit down with the people and truly listen. I would recommend that CEO’s & Presidents instruct their CIO’s to go to the basement and find out what’s NOT working and what IS working, then present the findings to the Executives & Board if necessary. Don’t think in terms of a project or an ERP implementation, think of it as a way of getting your house in order, is the family happy and do they have what they need to ensure your success. The best way to do that is to go to them and ask, otherwise you will hear about it on Twitter, FaceBook and the like, the beginning of the end if your not careful.
The old lesson of STOP, LOOK & LISTEN comes to mind when dealing with your constituents throughout the organization, then add the word DELIVER when you have done the first three.