2.1 Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is based on a long-term vision and short-term objectives defined in the business technology strategy. The strategy outlines the key requirements for a period varying typically between two to five years and the steps needed to reach the target state. The strategy is approved by the business technology steering group.

The strategic imperatives are further broken into action plans within a shorter period (e.g. 12 months). The execution of the plans will then be carried out in various levels of the organisation and in the governance bodies.

Strategy and action plans typically provide guidelines on following topics:

  • Financial and resource allocations
  • Platform and vendor preferences
  • People and competence strategies
  • Transformation agendas and roadmaps
  • Strategic partnerships and objectives.

An effective implementation of the strategy typically requires:

  • Operating model to have clarity in terms of roles, responsibilities and governance bodies
  • Service plans to outline the short-term (six to 12 months) steps to implement the strategy
  • Annual objectives and scorecards to ensure that the key leaders are aligned and committed
  • Portfolio steering to manage the implementation of the strategic decisions.

 

Strategic viewpoints to information technology management

Today, the success of any business depends on the effective exploitation of information technology. Therefore, harnessing the potential of information technology to create value for the business should be in the core of every company’s business strategy.

Value streams define business, technology or other domain focus for value creation. Business technology has typically three to five main value streams and potentially a few more specific minor value streams in each.

Each highest-level value stream should have:

  • Mission statement to define the business purpose
  • Value driver(s) to make mission statement measureable
  • Value stream owner either in business or in business technology
  • Financial mandate to make the development flow decisions within the value stream
  • Domain architecture to plan business capabilities efficiently
  • Roadmap to implement business capability development

The picture below illustrates some alternative ways to organise value streams.

 

 

Figure 2.1.1 Value streams

 

Another viewpoint for the strategy alignment is based on the role of the information technology for the company as shown in the illustration below:

 

 

What is the meaning of information technology? How to do
Strategic Planning?
How to do
Solution Design?
How to do
GO Decisions?
How to do
Steering?
Business PRODUCT Business planning and product epics Service design and user stories Self governed P/L based decisions by business Self governed by business and a product owner
Business ASSET Business capability planning and EA roadmaps Solution design or business technology design Portfolio governed and business case based; or self governed if budgeted Self governed by a program or project steering group
Business ENABLER Strategy planning and service roadmaps Solution design and technical design Portfolio governed and business case based; or self governed if budgeted. Self governed by a service owner or by a project steering group

 

When information technology is seen as a business product, the strategic planning is performed as for any other business product: studying and defining the requirements for the product, determining the prioritised features, pricing and distribution channels. In agile development methodology, the strategic intention is broken into user stories with business requirements, customer requests, and product features.

When information technology is seen as a business asset, the strategic planning focus is based on identifying the investments, capacity and expertise needed to meet business needs. This is usually supported by the enterprise architecture (EA) roadmaps that contain a plan on how to move from the current state to the target state and meet the company’s strategic intent.

When information technology is considered as a business enabler, there can be a more traditional strategy defining how information technology supports the business strategy and objectives. The strategic plan is completed by service roadmaps defining concrete action plans on how to carry out the development of the services within the defined strategy period.