Wednesday, November 29, 2023

How CIOs Can Assess the Impact of Their IT Strategic Plan

By Prangya Pandab - October 17, 2022 4 Mins Read

How CIOs Can Assess the Impact of Their IT Strategic Plan

An IT strategic plan is meant to provide management and employees with a framework for their activities over the next three to five years, but IT leaders need to evaluate the impact of this plan and assess if it is working for their enterprise.

The goal of an IT strategic plan includes providing upper management and IT with a sense of direction and purpose and defining the direction of IT activities over the next three to five years. Unfortunately, this plan often never leaves the CIO’s desk.

In fact, upper management is briefed on the plan, but they rarely remember or retain it. Even worse, most IT employees may not be aware of it.

Also Read: Three Strategies for Greater Training Opportunities to Retain IT Talent

Many businesses have a strategic plan that appears to have a sound strategy but, in reality, does not. They may have conducted a SWOT analysis and identified their goal, vision, and values, but if they lack actual strategic thinking, their strategy is really a waste of time and resources. 

Set the Appropriate Strategic Goals

One cannot ”set & forget” IT strategic plans. These plans provide a framework for the goals CIOs have for the coming years, but as the nature of the business is continuously changing, these plans should also be flexible.

For instance, an enterprise may have growth objectives that depend on IT creating and operating an e-commerce site, but an opportunity may present itself for the company to acquire another company that currently has an e-commerce site. As a result, handling a corporate merger is now the IT strategic goal instead of developing an e-commerce website.

The first thought that comes to mind when something unexpected happens is that the IT strategic plan is pointless since it isn’t being followed. A better strategy is to accept that strategies often need to be revised, plans need to be modified as per the changing business environment, and then they must be re-communicated to employees and stakeholders. Businesses need to have a vision for the future, even if it needs to be updated occasionally.

Focus on the ”Why” of a Strategic Plan

A sizable portion of the workforce is unaware of how their work benefits the company or fits with the IT strategic plan. The CIO’s role and that of the strategic plan is to communicate this purpose because people perform better when they have a sense of mission or purpose.

This can be done by making sure that each objective in the plan clearly states why it is being carried out. Putting this into simple language helps employees and stakeholders understand how the goal will benefit the company and why it is being done.

Also Read: Top Four Reasons IT Leaders Should Promote a Data-Driven Culture

Integrate Daily Tasks with the IT Strategic Plan

The IT strategic plan should be reviewed regularly in stakeholder, staff, and board meetings. Additionally, CIOs must define metrics for important plan objectives so that stakeholders and employees can monitor and evaluate progress.

For example, an organization’s IT team is tasked with transferring software between different computing hardware platforms. They were forced to make the conversion since their old system was outdated and unable to keep up with the company’s rapid expansion. It takes a lot of time and effort to convert code from one system to another. Therefore, it appears to those outside of IT that nothing is being done to add real value to the company.

In situations like these, IT teams must constantly emphasize to others the need for the conversion and constantly update everyone on its progress so they can all see it. The conversion effort is not made more likable, but taking these measures adds visibility to the project, reminding stakeholders of its purpose.

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Prangya Pandab

Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.

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