Why Is It So Hard To Do Strategic Technology Planning?
Do you know if your company’s IT is running at peak performance? Is it providing all the capabilities your customers need? Most organizations have limited visibility into and resources for technology; they cannot always take advantage of market opportunities to fill those gaps because they don’t have the funds to acquire greater IT resources. Companies with strategic IT development plans can seize more of these opportunities faster. For smaller companies especially, it’s critical to use strategic technology planning practices to allocate limited IT dollars.
We have identified several hurdles that a typical company must overcome in order to plan strategically:
Problem #1: Implementing a Strategic Planning Process Haphazardly
One of the problems that companies have in every type of strategic planning activity is not following all of the steps completely. They do some parts of the process, not others, and may not measure if their organizations ever reach their strategic goals.
Problem #2: Proposing Too Many Priorities
Companies may have a team of people who bring potential strategic plans to the executive leadership or the business owner. Regardless of how many times they have run their analytical models, they give their decision-makers too many options. Their leaders respond by “going soft,” such as not getting specific about goals, especially to avoid ruffling any feathers and to avoid making groups feel marginalized.
Problem #3: Failing to Rank Priorities
Even when a small business owner or an executive team narrows down the list of IT priorities, the company may have trouble ranking the short list. This makes it hard to ensure that fully funded projects get finished on time. For example, it might be unclear which IT project on the short list should get the most dollars. If the top IT project, for example, gets funded but becomes more costly than was forecasted, the next project could be faced with less funding. Over time, every IT project after the first one is at risk, and then the company achieves limited results.
Problem #4: Poor Implementation
Some companies make IT spending plans that look great on paper. They account for every scenario that might affect a project, and they build a solid implementation schedule with real milestones. Somewhere along the way, the people charged with the implementation drop the ball. They may take matters into their own hands and exceed their spending limits. Or, worse, they don’t manage their resources effectively and fail to meet the company’s goals.
The solutions to these four problems, and many more related to strategic technology planning, lie in the planning process itself. Your company must use a comprehensive approach to identify strategic opportunities and to eliminate threats. Your top leader(s) must choose the best ways to strengthen internal weaknesses so that you are not consistently outperformed by competitors. It’s not enough to know what those weaknesses are. It takes powerful leadership to examine weaknesses and to plan and implement the changes that will correct them.
CORE wants to help companies like yours avoid the pitfalls resulting from poor strategic technology planning. Engaging in a strategic planning process without fidelity makes it a waste of time for everyone. You don’t want your leaders and support personnel wasting time on implementing goals that don’t make any sense. You don’t want to start chasing new goals and then fail to meet them. You want to identify what your organization can reasonably achieve and then assign resources according to a plan.
We are here to help you choose the right initiatives so that your technology is always supporting your business goals. For more details on more strategic IT planning, please contact us today.