owen at owengreaves dot com

Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

I.T. Strategic Planning – The Blog

There are many things I.T. Strategic Planning can cover, blogging isn’t really one of them, unless your an IT Sweat Shop and it’s your portal to the world. Blogs however, tend to be birthed out of Marketing & PR Departments, they are a means to an end when it comes to getting the message out or building community.

From a Strategic Planning perspective, the Blog is a tool, yes it’s a technology platform but not a strategic one, this is not an item the company may live or die on. In my case, I’m a Consultant, a self-employed one at that, one of my tools of choice is this Blog. In this case, not only would it be in my Business Plan, it would also be in my I.T. Strategic Plan. Why? I would have to plan to implement and deliver the platform in order for my business to to do business here.

How would I arrive at such a decision? Well, I am not a large organization with resources, I am a sole Proprietor, I can reach my target market faster and in a more efficient and cost effect way. Hence, I need the Blog! I also need to have a Hosting Company to hold my blog so I am able to deliver my content, not only to my target market but to the world. I started my own webhosting company, it was a place to put my friends & clients, I also wanted learn how the backend works. So the arguement of Tactic & Strategy comes to the forefront yet once again.

This decision was easy for me, almost no money is required, I know how to build the site, and I know how to run the Content Management System. I knew which CMS I was going to use (WordPress Self-Hosted) & which theme, I use Headway Themes.(affiliate link) A no Brainer right?

Today almost every person is or will have a Blog at some point, almost every business will have a Blog, if they don’t, they won’t really have a voice out here and most likely will be out of business. So, the Blog is strategic in some cases, and in today’s digital world, it is imperative.

Having said that, the Blog is also not strategic. Why? There is no way a Blog can circumvent the server and it’s server platform, that has to come first before the Blog. The server, or the hardware required to deliver your information is strategic in that it’s a fixed cost and yet disposable at the same time. In my IT Strategy I would be saying, I need a server, on that server I need to run Windows Server or Linux or whatever server software happens to be the best suited to deliver my content. On that server, there will be web server software, it will be home to the Blog, it will be the space to which I upload and store my content.

As you can see the Blog really can come later, it may be the driving force to having a server but I think not, you will need a place to store files first before you need a Blog. We could go back & forth on this for some time, but the fact is, the Blog is becoming a staple in your business strategy and it is thought of long before the server ever is. So in that sense it’s part of your I.T. Strategic Plan.

What do you think?

My Goals for Owen Greaves Consulting in 2010

I spent many years just winging it, just responding to what felt right and mostly what felt good, sound familiar?  I have found that there are more business owners, check that, most people were doing the same thing. As I mentioned in my previous post, we spend more time planning a two week vacation than we do our careers and our lives. Why is that? I suspect due to a lack of knowledge, a poor understanding of what’s at stake here….it’s your life and you only get one chance to do it. Enough about that, I want to share with you what drives me and what my vision for Owen Greaves Consulting is for 2010.

I have met and worked for many, many business owners, CIO’s, COO’s, and they all struggle with the same things for the most part. They know what they want to do, but don’t really know how to build and implement a strong I.T. Plan. I.T. visionaries are way ahead of the rest of the organization, think of a funnel, you have a narrowing in the middle, a wide open area at one end and small opening at the other end. The visionary is out in the wide open section and instructs back to the small opening at the other end to do this or that. A short period of time goes by and he / she is frustrated because what they saw and instructed is not done. Why?

visionfunnel

The workers back at the small opening can’t see the big picture through the narrow opening in the middle, they don’t see what the visionary see’s way out there, they can’t even see where he is. The problem is at the narrow opening in the middle right? There has to be someone there that can clearly articulate what the visionary wants done back to the people (workers) in the small opening at the back. You might say things get lost in translation, it can happen if the person in the middle does not clearly understand what the visionary wants!

So what does this have to do with my vision for 2010. It’s obvious to me that there is a bigger problem than the funnel, it’s the man in the middle. Having someone who can build the plan so the workers can get done what the visionary wants completed. My vision, to help that person or organizations with a simple way to build that Strategic Technology Plan and to ensure that all businesses indeed do have a plan. Most don’t, they rely on internal staff, staff that don’t know how to build a plan because they are frankly too close to the problem(s). Most business owners think they know how, but they all too often are using the wrong filters to truly understand what the I.T. Plan should look like and be. Some of the smartest business people in the world don’t fully understand what needs to be in the I.T. Strategic Plan, hence they should hire the right people and or consultants to help build that strategy. No matter how big or small your business is, you should have a good plan on how technology will drive your business.

Most organizations have not documented what thier business processes are! How could they possibly know which software application, payroll, HR, CRM software and what have you to implement if they don’t know each and every process it takes to get the job done in a day. My goal is to ensure as many businesses / owners as possible have a good I.T. Plan. This has very little to do with Social Media but it has much to do with Technology overall. Social Media happens to be a large part of my work at the moment and it’s the hot topic of discussion everywhere I go.

My Plans for 2010:

  • Increase Public Speaking Engagements – on The New Technology, I.T. Strategies / Planning
  • To educate and teach 100 businesses develop an I.T. Strategic Plan. (roughly 8 new businesses per month)
  • Develop a video series on developing I.T. Strategic Plans. ( The I.T. Strategic Planning Series)
  • Continue working on my next eBook, The New Technology Pt 2. (hope to complete by end of 2010)
  • Write more often on my Blog. (daily if possible)
  • Get more subscribers on my Blog.
  • And of course, increase revenues ( I have to put that on here)

If you don’t have a list of items or targets, stop right now and make one…make two! What are you aiming for in 2010 and how do you plan to hit your targets? Better yet, what’s your I.T. Strategy for 2010?

I can see a problem with my list already, if I want to be successful, I have to find a few things to not consider doing. I may have to hire or partner up if I want to achieve all my goals.

What’s On Your List?

Do You Promote Your Blog Everyday?

I’ve been thinking about how much time a person or company should spend on Marketing / Promoting their Blog. Is everything you do on your Blog considered Marketing and or Promoting? I mean everyday you do things like branding, PR, adding content and making sure your name (company name / brand) is everywhere. Is there ever a time when marketing what you sell or do is too much marketing? I can’t imagine an executive ever saying we are advertising to much, we have our name out there too much we have saturated the marketplace with our Brand. If you do have someone like that, he or she probably won’t be there very long. I would rather have the problem of too much business and too much awareness than not enough.

Some of the tasks involved in marketing & PR today are changing subtly, because the rules are changing, now that Social Media has become mainstream you can’t just set it and leave it. You have to listen more than you do anything in todays new marketing environment. So, how much time should you spend listening? More than you are probably willing to spend time doing I’ll bet. If you aren’t willing to listen, how will you know what to do? How will you know when to do it?

So I keep asking myself, how much time should I spend doing PR & Marketing my blog? I think you should invest more time listening and then figuring out how you can solve what you just heard that day. So, do you market your blog everyday? How much time do you alot for that task?

Do you promote your blog everyday? I would love your input so please leave a comment below.

If I Was In Real Estate Today

logosIf I was in Real Estate Today, the very first thing I would do is identify my PURPOSE, the why I think I should be using Social Media Networks. This would appear obvious but it can be misleading, if you don’t believe Social Media will increase revenue, help build a stronger market share and develop community around your brand, your right, the strategy will be an exercise in futility. If you do, get to work and build a plan.

Get started by doing the following:

  • List requirements needed to implement strategy
  • Key Result Areas – What are they
  • Discern objectives
  • Identify Key Success Factors
  • List Core Competencies
  • Complete a S.W.O.T. Analysis, a plan needs to be well thought out.

Once you’ve completed the above get the following action items flushed out and then make it happen.

  • Setup accounts on multiple Social Media Networks and get active, participate, get involved in the communities…then….listen to what is being said, what is happening and where it’s being said. Never stop listening, never stop having a presence in these communities. People come back to things and places that are useful to them. Especially if you can help them.
  • Use all SM Networks like Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube, Viddler, Tumblr, FaceBook, StumbleUpon, Digg, Del.icio.us, Technorati, MySpace, LinkedIn, Seesmic, UStream.tv, and BlogTalkRadio. There are many more.
  • Blogging is a must, convert or add a Blog to an existing website, this is where you build community and give customers a place to go and something to do.
  • Take advantage of video, do LIVE open house events streamed via UStream.tv or one of the other web broadcasting services. Record those events and archive them, build a library, make them available to anyone to view at their leisure.  These video’s can also be training or teaching prospects on what questions to ask, how to and so on.
  • Do a live web radio show, field questions on a live video show that has Twitter embedded so it’s real-time.
  • Do video interviews, record testimonials…etc.
  • Sponsor or Host a major Social Media Event, these events charge for attendance and should not only cover expenses but should realize a profit. Bring in people who are actually doing or using Social Media at a high level, not just lip service.
  • Hire or contract a Community Management Officer or a Social Media Director.
  • Get Educated on Social Media, attend major conferences and get around those who are high profile in Social Media, and read books for more insight.

I’m just scratching the surface of your plan, but make sure you actually have a plan before jumping into the Social Media mayhem.

This doesn’t have to be difficult, it doesn’t have to be hard, but one thing you do, is work if you wish to realize the results you want from your efforts. It will take time, money and above all else, EFFORT! Whether you are a Broker or an agent, it makes no difference, build a plan, work the plan. But hey, you already know that, but do you know the technology and how to implement it? Do you know how to prepare? Are you willing to pay the price?

In this business, success is not measured by fitting in, it’s by standing out. (Mad Men)

I.T. Strategic Planning – ANALYSIS: Observations

planningobservationThis technically could be the last section of your plan, this is where you take a high level look at the plan and existing challenges that may hamper your ability to deliver on any said item. Depending on who and how I.T. decisions are made in your organization could literally dismantle your strategy on many levels. I wrote on this topic back June 2009, it’s called I.T. Decisions – Who Makes Them In Your Organization?

Once you’ve finished this section you can then do an Executive Summary for the purposes of presenting to your Executive Team and or Board of Directors. Here is a short hypothetical example of this section:

PLANNING OBSERVATIONS

A one year planning and budgeting cycle creates significant difficulties for the I.T. Department to execute the early stages of this plan.

  • Hardware and software have to be upgraded or replaced regularly, either to take advantage of newer technologies or reduce maintenance fees. However, sometimes an upgrade would make long term sense but cannot be done because it is too large for a one year budget. This has resulted in a series of sub-optimal short term purchasing decisions being made.
  • Recent budget cuts have forced a multi-year upgrade schedule to be differed resulting in perpetually out-of-date technology.
  • Many projects take longer than one year to complete and require both tools and personnel at the start-up stage, but will not see significant results until the subsequent year.
  • A new service is anticipated to be required by a department in a future year but the department lacks sufficient budget or approval to such an expenditure; however, there might be sufficient lead time for IT to prepare the infrastructure; does IT ” risk it ” and build the infrastructure anyway?

That’s just snippet of what you might put in this Planning Observations section, I suggest you pull your top three together to ensure you are covering the critical issues. You’ll want your IT leaders to be in the loop especially if you are seeking additional budget and it gets rejected, they may be able to assist you with other creative ways to turn the rejection around.

Happy Planning…