Regardless of size when it comes to IT there is a far reaching cry from my clients that while they know they need to get better at aligning their IT Departments Strategy to better fit with the Organization Needs of the business there is a massive disconnect. What I find from working with my clients is that success in this arena comes from having an IT Leader and a Staff that is focused on fundamental Goal Setting. When this happens and there is an End Game outlined…the Department, its Leader and the IT Staff tend to operate far more efficiently.
The danger of being Strategically Aligned is that the Project Load from knowing what the Organization needs adds to the Tactical work that must be accomplished on a daily basis. What I bring with me to my clients is the ability to listen to their projects with the all to familiar statement of “What are you Top Projects and Priorities” but then take a deep dive into:
- Who is driving this project? Is it the Business or is it IT?
- What stage in the project are you at? Is this still the planning, vendor selection or implementation stage?
- What have been your biggest challenges…so far?
Now when I walk through the resources that my clients have available to them, 9 times out of 10 they realize that they should have come to me first rather than spinning their tires. I can remember a couple of weeks ago, a prospective client had come across some resources that we published about Mobility and when I called him (surprising it only took 6 dials to get him on the line) we looked directly at this project. On his own he had invested, what he thought was an exorbitant amount of time doing “research” which basically opened him up to 50 calls just like mine. He sifted through Vendor White Papers, jumped onto industry association Websites, tore through Template and Policy libraries and even found me during that same search.
Now when I went through my 3 stage discovery, I focused mainly on who was driving the project…this is key because for me it is a great diagnostic of the maturity level of the IT / Business relationship. When I am diving into this question I tend to have a matrix that I plug some answers into (all in my head) that I focus in on and ask secondary questions about the importance of this project to both the Business and the IT Department. I look into the focus of the effort it takes for an IT Initiated Project to get senior executive buy in or does this buy in only come when it is their “Great Idea”.
Now it can be related back to some Military Dictum’s that NO STRATEGY survives the FIRST CONTACT with the ENEMY and from my experience of having guided dozens of clients through the development of a Strategic Plan that the high hopes of just building it and they will get instant buy in from the key Executives the IT Strategic Plan rarely survives the first contact with the Budget Review Board. There are how ever some key wins that can come just from the exercise of building a Strategic Plan:
- Deeper and more insightful understanding of the IT Environment as it stands today
- Far greater chance of having a true understanding of the Organizational Direction and how as a Partner, IT can support and fuel both growth and Innovation
By no means am I an expert in the Art of IT Strategic Planning but that is not the point. And I do not recommend the blind acceptance that a functional plan can be built in a 30-60 minute time frame but what I do have every confidence in, is that opening up to the tool set that is available, leveraging the experience of the Great Minds that developed them and then doing the work that is suggested can and has had a HUGE impact on my clients. Doing the work is much like the Homework Assignments of yester year…Executive and Departmental Leadership Interviews, Analysis of the Current State, Leveraging the Technology that others drool over and absolutely look to your competitors and what they are doing…that is where huge gains in efficiencies are made.
Today we live in an era that EVERY Business Leader is looking to squeeze out the potential of every employee, some are very successful in building that culture of success…others well…lets put it this way…in my first 4 months in Sales I had a mentor tell me one thing that I remember to this day and it is actually pinned up at my desk:
“The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
I advocate for identifying the organizational goals, then setting your department goals and finally your own professional goals. Now when you look to these three objects and can align you personal goals to those three often very different objectives…it is a recipe for success.
Let me help you and at the same time we can find the way to help your organization! Give me a call +1-519-432-3550 ext 2738.
Chris J Powell