For my clients time is the one commodity that they find a challenge and wish that some enterprising young inventor could come up with a way of adding just one hour to their day without them having to give up an hour of something else.
While I have no fancy plan in my bag of sales tricks that can actually fix this for them I do strive to assist all of my clients with using their time effectively. We joke all the time that even for the slowest of IT Shops the To Do List is about 14 items long and there is only time to get 8 of them done on any given day but more importantly there is a constant question of “How do I employ solid long term and short term strategy while remaining firmly rooted in having a tactical plan that allows me to remain agile enough to meet the unexpected?”
Strategy vs. Tactics or Today vs. Tomorrow
It is a constant tug of war in trying to find the time to build a solid business strategy within IT but still be able to meet user and business expectations that are a moving target. The leveraging of a solid information partner and trusted adviser can go a long way to ensure that you have the plan that will allow you to do both!
I work with companies that range in size from 1 person IT Consultant Shops to massive organizations with so many moving parts and layers of complexity that add to the confusion of being able to implement a “Tactical Strategic Plan”.
Over the past couple of years I have worked with dozens of my clients to leverage the series of templates, tools and core research that can assist with painting the big picture that a solid 2-3 year Strategic Plan provides while backing that up with the Tactical Insights to be able to take the Plan into the board room with confidence. The structure and discipline it takes to build a plan and follow through is a challenge though not just because of changing business expectations but just finding the time to build a real plan in the first place.
I work for a companty that prides itself on providing Practical Solutions to IT Research so the tools and templates are already built so that I can assist on IT Strategy in 5 easy steps during a 30 minute Service Call.
1) Business – IT Alignment: This is probably the most important stage in the entire process. Identifying what your business partners need from you in IT is key to looking into the future and anticipating their needs. We leverage some key tools to look at Strategic Technology Drivers, identify the IT Vision and build a Stakeholders List
2) Application Direction: To know where you are going you need to know where you are (the face of applications is constantly evolving and getting lost in the minutia of this constant change can put a quick halt to the plan). We look to doing a quick Business Function Assessment and look to the potential upgrade and migration paths
3) Technical Infrastructure Direction: Planning for capacity increases is a bit of a Crystal Ball act but both through the tools and supporting guidance from amazing Solution Sets this starts to build a focus and look at the rapid growth of Enterprise Storage, Bandwidth Capacity, Server Refresh and even a PC Lifecycle view
4) IT Organization Direction: The people that are going to put this plan into practice and achieve the Tactical Benefits of the Plan are key. Do you have sufficient staff to support the proposed changes, do the people you have have the right skills and most importantly…are there any Organizational Gaps that need to be addressed early on in the process to ensure success?
5) IT Strategic Investment and Value Roadmap: At the end of the day you can have a world class strategic plan, you can have all of your ducks in a row and leave nothing to chance until the time comes to put the plan into practice and find that there is a ZERO Budget again this year. Putting the dollar figure behind the plan will be key. Returning to the business partners that helped in the early stages of the plan and getting their buy in and support so that you can help be a Strategic Partner to the Business and a Vital part of the team that will drive your organization to success in 2011/2012.
Some of you may be asking…you get a complete plan done in these 5 steps in just 30 minutes? No…there is home work to be done by my clients and while my company does have the capacity to come to you and do all of these 5 steps for you and with you…it is not included in the base license with us. The base line work is done for you and the investment that you make in taking the time to focus and build a plan that at its foundation is Tactical and Practical means the world to my clients…let me know if you need some assistance…our lines are always open.
Thanks and have a great day,
Chris J Powell