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New Strategic Planning

It's against the background just described that IT strategic planning is essential. Information technology strategies today are in a state of unprecedented flux, at a time when the ability to articulate, reconcile, and integrate multiple (and often competing) strategies is likely to be a leading differentiator for world-class IT organizations. CIOs across the world are struggling with a multitude of strategies associated with the many different aspects of their information technology businesses. As fast as IT organizations work to keep their strategies current with business, technology, and economic imperatives, these drivers themselves are changing so rapidly that it becomes almost a lost cause.

New Strategic Imperatives

A number of vital imperatives must be in place for the new continuous strategic planning model to be effective and to make it work. Here are some examples:

  • Technologies in the strategic plan must be flexible to enable the anytime, anywhere, on-demand approach.

  • Continuous assessment of developments for the strategic plan must be maintained.

  • Any new processes proposed must be adjustable, fine-tuned quickly throughout the organization and over any geographic boundaries regardless of the technology. Strategic advantage is achieved by the ability to react to changing market or customer circumstances.

  • A highly decentralized, dispersed, and semi-autonomous mobile workforce must be able to achieve a sense of organizational purpose and values.

Scenario-Based Strategy

One newer strategic planning technique that has major benefits for IT is in scenario-based strategy. Developing and delivering on clear IT strategies is important for sustainable growth and profitability. Increasing the understanding of possible future outcomes and developing and testing strategies against these outcomes is essential to avoid "I wish we'd thought of that" syndrome.

It's important that well-understood trends and drivers should already feature in your plans. Scenario-based strategy development is about identifying uncertainties affecting the future of your business and IT environment. For example, a scenario based methodology looks at uncertainties in a number of areas:

  • Customer demand

  • New and existing competition

  • Technology developments

  • Regulation

  • Global economy

Scenario-based strategies can bring clarity, simplicity, and understanding to an uncertain market and provide a compelling vision of the future.

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