You notice I didn’t ask you what your New Years Resolution(s) was or going to be? I don’t believe in or like New Years Resolutions because they set you up to fail. I won’t go in to why but I think you already know. We take more time to plan our vacations than we do our careers and or business goals for the next 1,2,3…5 years.
If you are a business owner you know that everything is in the plan, without it you don’t have a target, objectives and a road map to where you want to be in the next year, or the next 5. There are plans and then there wish lists, plans have long & short term goals. Wish lists don’t, they are nice to have’s or something you would like to have happen as a bonus to your plan.
Many of you are wondering what 2010 will bring, is business going to improve, will you find more work and so on. I don’t have a crystal ball, if I did I would know what’s going to happen to me let alone the sate of the Global market. I know this, we spend far too much time worrying, chasing and forgetting what’s truely important in our day-to-day lives.
Youv’e heard it said before, no one ever says on their death bed that they wished they worked more hours and had a bigger house or more money. They always say, I wish I had of spent more time with my kids, wife and taken more time for myself. You should know that I survived a heart attack in 2001, I can tell you first hand I never once thought about my job, my car, my house or any posession. I can tell you that I thought about my Lisa, my two boys Tyler & Brandon, my goals since then, to be and do more with them more often. I have and I continue to make sure my family gets the best of me.
We all have plans for different parts of our lives but mostly about our work and things we want from a material point of view. Business plans are abundent this time of year as new goals are put forward, hoping business will be better the next year than the last. That’s OK, you should set those objectives, it’s good business to do so.
In 2010 much is going to change, but what? How will it impact your business and could you survive those changes you don’t see coming. The level of risk when planning to upgrade full ERP systems, Payroll Software or an Office Suite may be low, but what happens when your business doesn’t reach sales objectives? How do you respond, what should you do? If you have a plan, you’ll know exactly what to do and even see clearly what steps to take to turn things around.
There a many, many templates and websites that can help you if you don’t have a plan, the business plan, the I.T. Strategic Plan and so on. I review many business plans and even more I.T. Strategic Plans and I can tell you almost immediately which ones are going to help when a crisis arrives. Everything is in the Plan.
What’s Your Plan For 2010?
Mine? Go over my plan and make adjustments as needed long term. I’m currently working on my short term plan, for the coming year called 2010. I’ll share some of my plans in my next Blog post.
You? Do you have one you can work from to ensure the next year has a road map?
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’ve covered Vision & Mission, KRA’s and Objectives so far, today I want to talk to you about Action Plans. As you know nothing happens without action of some sort, even writing this article requires action on my part. This area of your strategic plan does not have to be an exhaustive list but a substantial one, these items should also have dates beside them as targets for delivery or completion.
This list might look like a To Do List in or on any other document but this is your bigger picture stuff that goes into your short & long term plans. I am listing for you a few items that might be on your list but you’ll have to assess your situation and build your list. This action list should be in line with some or all items listed in your objectives, this list will cover a broad scope of projects & items you want to get done over the next 12 to 18 to 24 months. Also keep in mind this list is not written in stone, it is like a budget, it’s a guide to keep you on track with the organizations needs. You may make changes to this plan as circumstances arise and technology advances.
1. Identify the most effective software package for the organization – 2Q – 2010
2. Prepare 5 year budget for core applications – 3Q – 2010
3. To prepare a general implementation plan and schedule for core applications for the next 18 – 24 months – 3Q – 2010
4. Develop strategy to train staff – 3Q – 2010
5. Complete a formal review of Network Infrastructure – 2Q – 2010
This list could have over 20 projects or items on it, it’s like a to do list you want to complete in a timely fashion in the upcoming months. At this point you have been assessing your organizations needs and requirements, then documenting your findings. You should have met with all departments and subject matter experts to learn as much as you can about the current shortcomings of your existing core applications. You also would have collected a wish list from each department to assist in assessing or identifying the appropriate software package that will handle 80 – 90% of the organizations process. Your goal is to make the staff’s job easier and giving customers better support by automating as many processes as possible.
As you can see these plans can take on different shapes and sizes but you as the I.T. Leader must know your organizations needs, if you don’t, that’s your first task before you can build an intelligent I.T. Strategic Plan. In the next part of our mock plan, we will shift gears and move into the Analysis part of our plan.
In an earlier post I covered what your KRA’s might look like, in this article I want to go over what your objectives might be in your plan. You know better than I what the hot buttons are in your organization, the critical over the urgent and so on. But your plan is about the bigger picture so you need to always be looking ahead and plan accordingly. You want to also consider dates or deadlines on these objectives, otherwise you may never deliver in a timely fashion.
Here is an example list of Objectives:
1. Implement Core Applications – 1Q – 2011
2. Provide constituent self-serve 24/7 – 3Q – 2010
3. Provide Infrastructure to Support XYZ Application – 2Q – 2010
4. Train staff on all core applications – 4Q – 2010 (before launching)
5. Provide Data to staff where and when they might need it and in the format they want it in. – 4Q – 2010
Traditionally, after you have identified your objectives you would then look at your action plans and set dates for those items as well. I’ll cover that step in our mock I.T. Strategic Plan.