Charlie Mac and Associates

IT Strategy

IT Strategy is the guiding approach for achieving an intended outcome with IT, being mindful of the resources and constraints that an an organisation may operate within.  IT Strategy is clear and concise.  It is the approach that gets you from where you are now to where you need to be.  Often, it can be described in a few words.  Good IT strategy has this clarity.  IT Strategy is not a truckload of motherhood statements attempting to address every trend in the IT industry.   IT Strategy is an approach, not a plan, not a list of things to do, although a plan often leads from good IT Strategy.

In his book, Good Strategy, Bad Strategy,Richard Rumelt emphasises that good strategy helps organisations truly transform for growth. He highlights that a good strategy must acknowledge the current environment and resources at hand, and have a clear goal in mind, and be formed from the kernel of an idea – an idea of how the current environment and resources can be utilised to achieve the goal. A good IT strategy is formed on the same principles. Many IT strategies fall short in this respect, they don’t acknowledge the current situation (the resources that can be brought to bear – including skilled people, funding and the organisations readiness for change), and they don’t provide a clear nor inspiring vision of how IT will transform business. It is no surprise then that many IT strategies aren’t actionable or useful.

Our mission is to improve the IT strategy of every organisation we work with.

You know when you have a good IT strategy. It’s easy to explain to others, it’s inspiring and gets you a little excited about the future. It’s believable and possible. It is fundamentally the first step to any cultural change program.

Our IT Strategy services include:

  • Vision setting – understanding and refining your vision of the future. In addition, we usually provide you with our view and the research it is based upon.
  • Ideation – developing good ideas into compelling solutions.
  • IT strategy development and review – Vision Setting and Ideation to develop the future state, and combined with a current state analysis, we work with you to develop a strategy that gets you from current to future state.

Our approach to developing IT Strategy

In undertaking an IT Strategy engagement, we usually look to:

1 Start up Perform activities to ensure we understand what is required and establish an environment for status reporting and review.
1.1 Establish tools and templates We would look to leverage materials, tools and templates that produced successful results in previous engagements
1.2 Scope engagement – defining scope, stakeholders, approach, plan, objectives, etc. Determine scope, approach and budget for this engagement with the working group.  This also includes developing a detailed work program that includes a brief project plan, and Gantt chart.  Responsibilities are clearly identified.
1.3 Refine engagement method We will work with you to refine the most effective way to elicit information from staff and stakeholders – building upon the activities planned for Phase One.
2 Phase One: Research and Consultation To gather as much information on the current state of IT, future needs and aspirations and the gap that may exist between these
2.1 Develop discussion paper on the future of IT Developing a discussion paper that would set the scene for broader discussions across the organisation about the power of IT in delivering business benefits now and even more so into the future.
2.2 Literature review Identifying and analysing research and other information on empowering IT strategies employed by other like organisations.  Prevailing theories and hypotheses are identified, questions being asked are collated, and relevant methodology and methods that are useful are documented.   In addition, collect current state information and organise using our Business Technology Framework
2.3 Discussion forums on the future of IT (inc current and future states) We will conduct discussion forums to encourage and enthuse people from across the organisation to participate in the development of the IT Strategy.  We will also provide a multi-channel approach to opening lines of communication (inc an online discussion space).
2.4 Facilitate focus groups These groups focus on particular domains or areas of interest – and may be centred around mobility, customer relationship management, enterprise data management, dashboards and performance management, etc.
2.5 Undertake IT Values Alignment Our specialty is in aligning the requirements of all stakeholders from across an organisation in delivering the overall IT vision.  Please see below (Our proprietary methodologies) for more details.
2.6 Collate relevant research from similar industry sectors It is sometimes useful to compare an organisation’s strategic intentions with others in similar industries – with the view to incorporate the good ideas of others that may be relevant.
3 Phase Two: Drafting of ICT Strategy The IT Strategy is developed, drawing upon the inputs, materials and data collected in Phase One
3.1 Analyse and summarise results from Phase One We take the information collected in Phase One to distil all of this down to summary findings and results. Current and future states will be described in terms of our Business Technology Framework that helps us identify gaps more easily.  Our analysis also focuses on all aspects of bringing enhanced IT capability to bear – being people, policy and process, the tools and technology themselves, and the overall business vision and strategic plan.
3.2 Document gaps in capability between current state and future Current and future states are compared to understand the gap between these.  These gaps would inform an overall IT strategy that is subsequently enabled though a more detailed implementation plan.
3.3 Develop implementation plan based on addressing gaps The implementation plan will describe all of the IT projects the organisation intends to implement to pay out its IT strategy in achieving its overall vision of the future.  We will develop this plan to a level of detail that you need to secure executive buy-in.
4 Phase Three: Finalisation of Strategy Finalising the IT Strategy so that it is reviewed by all stakeholders and accurately represents their views on how the organisation will improve its IT capability over the next few years.
4.1 Release IT Strategy and Implementation Plan for feedback We would release the IT strategy for review.
4.2 Make changes to deliverables in line with feedback We are happy to take feedback in any form – electronic, verbal or in hard-copy form.  Our aim would be to turn changes around within a day or two of us receiving feedback.
4.3 Report to executive on adoption of the plan We plan a final report (and presentation if required) to the executive on our analysis and findings, the IT strategy itself and the implementation plan that underpins this.


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