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Final Thoughts

Several years in the future, when we look back on the early 21st century, we may determine that speed is the one best descriptor for this time, incorporating the rate at which

  • New ideas were transmitted to every corner of the globe

  • Market niches were created and abandoned

  • Corporate decisions were made

  • Product-to-market cycles shortened

  • New business ventures were rolled out

  • Technologies changed

  • Strategic plans were developed, changed, and reviewed

Speed also describes the key business driver influencing the management of information systems; speed in business demands flexibility in management and technology to respond to rapidly changing market conditions. Speed. Flexibility. Responsiveness. We hear these words over and over from senior IT executives, who are typically charged with the responsibility of helping their organizations to make effective use of information technology. Speed also applies to strategic planning; if corporations don't move quickly, opportunities will be lost. The process of innovation is never ending. Indeed, many argue that the pace of innovation will continue to quicken in the years ahead, as companies exploit the still largely untapped potential for e-commerce, especially in the consumer arena, where most observers expect the fastest growth.

Strategic IT planning is evolving away from the traditional, yearly big-bang approach toward a dynamic and continuous process that has both traditional and highly strategic value, with digitally innovative components based on portfolio and scenario planning concepts. Dynamic planning forms the basis of balanced value, innovation, and agility programs that manage proactive technology investments and enable organizational dexterity. Experienced CIOs should exploit integrated planning with their customers as extensively as possible.

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