This is Part 1 of our series on establishing an overarching IT framework within which the IT Department organizes and operates the IT role. We look forward to seeing your thoughts and comments.
Looking back over the last decade, some leaders in the IT community have only recently starting to become keenly aware that there is a need to put a greater focus on establishing an IT yearly plan and budget that is aligned more closely to and can be measured against the organization’s larger objectives. A growing theme amongst many of these leaders is that they have a difficult time identifying where to start. They themselves, along with their team, are pulled in so many directions during the year that getting free to create a plan (past a line item budget) seems impossible and somewhat daunting because the business is moving or growing so fast.
With growth comes increasing complexity. New IT solutions or capital expenditures are managed on an adhoc basis. Small and medium sized businesses can get by like this for a time without things spirally out of control, but eventually they will need to establish a plan so that the business and IT operations are closely aligned towards a common end.
How do you go about doing that? The following model is designed to establish an overall IT framework in order to act as a guide to the longer term and yearly IT planning process.
1. Establish overall IT vision
The IT vision should describe the desired future position of information technology within the organization and:
- Align with overall business vision – Describe a unique outcome IT can provide within that vision
- Establish a direction – Should look ahead to the future
- Be clear and specific – no technical jargon or catch phrases
- Be ambitious and challenging but ultimately achievable
2. Establish governance model
Determine the framework within which the IT department makes decisions. This framework will allow for a structured and repeatable method for making logical and efficient decisions. The governance model should include:
- A leadership and reporting matrix
- An outline of leadership and team member accountabilities and responsibilities within their roles
- An established reporting/processes/procedures which inform and enable efficient change management
3. Review and evaluate department organization
Review and evaluate people and positions in the department based on the IT vision and technical requirements of the department. Identify strengths and training opportunities by doing the following:
- Create an organizational chart
- Enumerate staff / available third party consultant competencies
- Evaluate current and proposed positions in the IT dept for alignment with overall mission and goals
4. Establish performance management plan
Create a framework in order to be able to establish whether or not goals are being met. Appropriately measuring progress is also key to continual improvement. Your performance plan should:
- Have established key performance indicators (KPI) based on measurable business objectives
- Measure progress in relation to set goals
- Identify areas of improvement / weakness
What becomes exciting in this planning process is that the C-Suite and the IT team start to become aware of the full capability of the business through technology. Decision-making and the ability to forecast the need for change becomes far easier and manageable across the organization.
Next in our series on IT Planning is a deep dive on how to establish 2 – 3 year strategic goals (and stick to them). Contact us if you have questions about how Make IT can help implement an IT Framework for your business. Find more on our IT Consulting services here.