2. 12-24 month IT Strategy

This is where I usually try and find out more about my staff. I need to know their skillsets so I would set about creating skills matrix. Once the skills matrix is complete, it would help me identify, for example, areas in my department that are weak, strengths and areas that I can look to outsource.  Armed with this information, I would set about creating a new  deaprtment structure, appraise the staff and define KPI’s and ensure IT was delivering value to the business.

I would then set the staff a task of re-examining the existing policies, procedures, methodologies and standards that the department should start to use or are already using. This task will help identify staff with drive and enthusiasm and identify the lateral thinkers. The staff with out of the box solutions. This is important as once these positive and lateral thinkers have been identified, they can be given the more responsible tasks. These tasks will not only be completed with committment and passion but also challenge not only my thinking but that of the department. That is exactly what I want. I want to identify innovative cost effective solutions and for my department to challenge why we do what we do on a daily basis.

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1. 3-12 month IT Strategy

Once I know and understand the priorities of the business and how my own staff view the IT systems, the next step is to capture this knowledge in a document.

Study the IT systems one by one by one and ascertain whether they are delivering the business benefits that they set out to achieve by looking at the original project documentation.  Contact the users, send out appropriate surveys and look at existing standards within the industry. Look at employing a good consultancy to benchmark your systems against others within your industry.

Look for, “quick wins”. For example, if the desktop operating system is quite old, replace it. This is highly visible and once the benefits are communicated and realised, your position is secured. Keep the better systems and strategise to decommision/upgrade systems that are not aligned to the business vision. Start to survey the market to identify systems that will deliver the business vision.

Present the new strategy to the board and get it rubber stamped.

Creating an effective IT Strategy

For this post, I am assuming that I have just become an IT Director of a large multinational company. Now, I know I have a honeymoon period of six months including the crucial first 100 days. So, my IT Strategy will be communicated to the business within the first 100 days. I need to ensure that within the first three months, I have networked extensively  and have met the key decision makers ansd senior personnel within the business. I need to have a clear understanding of how well aligned the boards view of IT within the business is compared to senior middle management. I also need to understand their issues, problems and visions of IT or lack of vision and if that is the case, I need to probe further. The next step is to understand how effective and successful my predecessor’s IT Strategy was and how people viewed that strategy. Understanding how my own staff function and taking on board their opinions and feedback would assist aswell. Armed with this info, I would set out to create the IT Strategy.