I have been thinking about this question for some time, because there appears to be a gap between IT Departments / Leaders and the rest of the organization. IT departments tend to think in icolation when it comes to the I.T. Plan. I’m generalizing but, this is normal because IT departments believe that the rest of the organization couldn’t possibly understand the complexities of technology let alone know how to implement it. That’s no longer the truth today, everyone has stepped up and learned more and do infact understand far better what technology means and what it can do. That’s not what I want to share with you right now, lets talk about who the I.T. Plan is for.
If the CIO or the person charged with the technology needs of the organization builds an I.T. Plan without consulting all departments and subject matter experts first, should be relieved of duty. The secret to a successful I.T. Strategic Plan is to ensure you have talked with all areas of the organization. It’s a MUST! If you don’t, you have no way of knowing what they struggle with, what they would like to be able to do, and what things they would like you to fix. The subject matter experts in the organization are your greatest allies, they can help you execute incredible customer service. The organization will know you care about each person, that makes buy in much easier when change takes place in systems they use.
Your responsibility is to deliver the right solutions, the right technology and above the best customer service to your organization. It has nothing to do with technology, it’s about people and always will be. The I.T. Strategic Plan is a road map for the IT Staff, it lays out the years work, and how you will serve the organization on a daily basis.
So, who is the I.T. Strategic Plan for? Who do you think and why?
How are I.T. Decisions made in your business or organization? Who makes those decisions? One of the challenges with non-technical upper management decision makers getting involved is, it’s usually about them wanting a particular toy or functionality. I.T. decisions are based on one or a select group of people because they are the bosses and get what they want or it’s in the name of getting something done. I have found that making technology decisions in that fashion usually cripples your ability to shift gears down the road, you end up implementing the wrong solution and you spend two to three times the dollars fixing the problem later. What you do today matters, do all you can to prevent it and do the painful work of finding a more rational solution if you can. Oh ya, whenever possible avoid database conversions as it will add to the scope of the project(s).
On your journey to make things easier for you, collect and database all business processes in your organization and weight them for measurement, then consult all subject matter experts in the organization to ensure by-in before you go off finding a solution. Remember, it’s not who wants it or what kind of technology that’s the issue, what’s paramount is knowing what your organization needs. Which means you have a good understanding of the company you work for and it’s systems.
Another thing to consider, what is the perceived value your business or organization has on Information Technology and the Systems it uses to organize data. If your new prospect or management team doesn’t understand the value of technology, you now have an educational task on your hands.
Another challenge business owners have is discerning who they should trust, there are so many EXPERTS out there confusing and complicating the problem. There are key questions that can be asked to qualify the said consultant to assist you and your organization with technology strategies but that’s another article.
The point is, organizations handcuff themselves by allowing only non-technology people to make long term technology decisions. That’s not all bad but it’s not wise to have 100% of all I.T. decisions made by them in isolation. In most cases they will invest in something and then hand it off to the I.T. department with a note attached, ” Make this work with our systems”. They know what they want the system to do and or what they want to have happen. They don’t understand how existing systems work and what they will or won’t work with, at the core, non-technology people are unable to see and know where technology is going, what may solve problems in 3-5 years…don’t worry most of us don’t, but, technology people know how and where to find out. They understand the order in which you should proceed, they understand what you have and what you should look for in solutions.
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