If you’ve read Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, you’re familiar with the methodology that your organization’s “why” needs to sync with your vision, determining both how and what you do. (Check out Sinek’s TED Talk on the topic.)
Inspired by this, I want to share how this concept applies specifically to your IT vision.
Your IT vision needs to line up with your organization’s vision as a whole. This notion is one we at Lewan have honed over our many years an IT services provider.
Technology can have a meaningful impact on your organization’s success.
What this means to us…
- If you’re growing or shrinking, IT needs to scale up and down with you.
- If you’re in a mature market, IT needs to be cost-effective while supporting operations.
- If you’re innovating and automating, IT needs to keep up; allow access from anywhere, using anything, and at any time.
From this perspective, is there alignment between your organization’s plans and IT’s plans or is inertia and the daily grind overtaking your IT world?
To answer that, consider what makes up your IT plans: budget, services provided, staffing, projects, support and schedules.
If these are not 100% in lockstep, here’s a 3 step approach to get your organization back on track and ensure alignment moving forward:
1. Put it in Writing
Gather your executive team to develop your overall organization’s vision and your IT vision. Collaboration is key here so everyone is bought in and believes in the statement. Need help? Here’s a list of top vision and mission statement books.
2. Roadmap and Resource it
Now that your organization’s vision exists in written form, you should also build an initiatives plan to fulfill that vision. Once you have that plan in place, you now need to develop an IT roadmap to fulfill it.
Here are two approaches:
- Take the list of organizational initiatives and develop an IT line item for each (project, support, budget). Then below that list, create a separate list of other known IT line items. Challenge any item you add that’s not already on the organizational initiatives list. If the organization plan doesn’t require it, is it important? Or does IT need to clarify to others on just what it does?
- Write down the list of known IT line items, and then compare it to the list of organizational initiatives, ensuring 100% alignment of IT plans with the organization plan. If there are organizational initiatives that previously had no IT support, determine if communication or collaborative planning needs to be improved.
After making the IT initiatives list, prioritize to deal with financial or personnel constraints and current or future potential. Remember the organization and IT visions? These should drive the prioritization.
As you’re prioritizing, consider available financial options (capex, opex, leasing), human resources and alternative delivery methods (internal/external, full-time/part-time, automation). Don’t let your current modes of operations get in the way of your future success.
3. Track it and Keep it on Track
There are two groups you should put in place that are vital to successful execution of the IT Roadmap.
- IT Steering Committee. A cross-functional, leadership-level team to provide direction, support, prioritization, funding, and make the difficult decisions. This group owns the IT Roadmap and continual alignment of it to the organization’s initiatives.
- IT PMO (Project/Program Management Office). Experts dedicated to delivering projects on or under time and budget and up to quality standards, providing visibility into all aspects of IT. This group owns the individual entries on the IT Roadmap and reports progress and issues to the IT Steering Committee.
There you go, an organizational vision that drives an IT vision and the plans that get it done. Does your business have an IT vision and roadmap? What works for you? What doesn't?
More about Lewan’s IT Strategy:
"vPOSE" Best Practices for New Technology Adoption
Co-IT: The Evolution of IT in Supporting Organizational Vision