Define an IT Strategy and Roadmap

Develop a data-driven, fit-for-purpose plan with a strong link to execution.


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Your Challenge

  • The business does not view IT as a strategic partner. Many CIOs are not invited to participate in any of the organization-wide strategic planning and decision-making. The business isn’t interested in strategic IT planning.
  • The IT department does not have the expertise or capacity to develop an effective strategic plan for IT. IT strategy management requires a highly specialized skill set and resource commitment. It is rarely successful if approached as a side activity.
  • IT strategies tend to focus mainly on technology and fail to cover other areas. IT strategies are often “too technical” and written in a language the business cannot understand.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Make informed decisions based on data, not just intuition and assumptions.
  • Right-size your IT strategy to address the mandate.
  • Establish a strong commitment to execution.

Impact and Result

  • Articulating a clear IT strategy that aligns IT with business objectives is the most important activity a CIO can do for the IT department and organization.
  • The strategic planning exercise requires that the CIO review the business environment, assess the current state of IT, define a target state that is aligned with the organizational priorities, and focus efforts on IT initiatives that bring tangible benefits to the business.
  • The key is to work with the business when developing your IT strategic plan. A solid understanding of business needs combined with a mutual understanding of drivers and constraints will help you create a very effective strategy.
  • Creating and executing a successful IT strategy will help thrust IT into a leadership role, especially if the organization has not yet formulated a formal strategy of its own.


  • Ken Piddington, Chief Information Officer and Executive Advisor, MRE Consulting
  • Glen Notman, Associate Partner, Citihub
  • Philip D'Aurelio, Supervisor, Development Solutions, City of Hamilton
  • Kevin Vigil, IT Director, Southwest Care Center
  • Khaled Hjouj, IT Strategy Consultant
  • Jack Hakimian, Director of Application Services, Sun Life Financial
  • Three anonymous contributors

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why a data-driven, business-focused IT strategy is so important, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Determine mandate and scope

    Identify the need for and use of the IT strategy and determine a realistic scope.

  2. Assess drivers and constraints

    Review the business and external drivers and assess their impact on the business and IT.

  3. Evaluate the current state of IT

    Review the current state of IT and assess its impact on the business and IT.

  4. Develop a target state vision

    Determine and define an ideal end state for the IT department.

  5. Define initiatives

    Identify strategic initiatives that address the business and external requirements and the gaps between the current and target states of IT.

  6. Build a roadmap

    Build a roadmap to plan the execution of your strategy.

  7. Execute the IT strategy

    Optimize organizational capabilities to increase the likelihood of execution success.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a twenty-one call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Determine mandate and scope

  • Call #1: Determine mandate.

  • Call #2: Define scope.

  • Call #3: Complete project charter.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Assess drivers and constraints

  • Call #1: Assess business drivers.

  • Call #2: Assess external drivers.

  • Call #3: Begin strategy map.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Evaluate the current state of IT

  • Call #1: Assess the holistic IT.

  • Call #2: Assess the current state of IT for each focus area.

  • Call #3: Identify performance data.

  • Guided Implementation #4 - Develop a target state vision

  • Call #1: Identify target state.

  • Call #2: Form target-state options.

  • Call #3: Set target-state vision.

  • Guided Implementation #5 - Define the transition initiatives

  • Call #1: Identify gaps.

  • Call #2: Identify transition options.

  • Call #3: Select transition initiatives.

  • Guided Implementation #6 - Build a roadmap

  • Call #1: Determine business-driven priorities.

  • Call #2: Plan to manage change and risk.

  • Call #3: Finalize roadmap and secure approval.

  • Guided Implementation #7 - Execute your IT strategy

  • Call #1: Discuss any key metrics.

  • Call #2: Identify key execution challenges and possible mitigation techniques.

  • Call #3: Identify key objectives for the next three months.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Determine Mandate and Scope

The Purpose

  • Identify the need for and use of the IT strategy.
  • Determine a realistic scope for both the IT strategy and the IT strategy workshop.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • The IT strategy project is planned and scoped to ensure the appropriate resources are available to complete the project.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Identify target audience groups for IT strategy and their concerns.
1.2 Determine how IT strategy will be used, i.e. communicated and executed.
1.3 Adopt the organization’s preferred terminology.
1.4 Define IT strategy scope, i.e. breadth (focus areas), depth (level of detail), organizational coverage, and planning horizon.
1.5 Determine the most effective approach (workshop or consulting engagement), given the mandate and scope.
1.6 Summarize the approach in an IT strategy development charter or statement of work and secure approval.
  • IT strategy execution and communication plan.
  • IT strategy development project charter or statement of work.

Module 2: Confirm Mandate and Scope and Assess Drivers and Constraints

The Purpose

  • Confirm mandate and scope.
  • Assess the business and external drivers and determine their impact on the business and IT. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A clearly defined mandate and an appropriate scope.
  • IT opportunities that align to business and external drivers.  

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Confirm IT strategy development mandate and scope defined in the workshop preparation step.
2.2 Assess business drivers, i.e. imperatives, capabilities, initiatives, and success measures.
  • List of business drivers
2.3 Assess external factors, e.g. PESTLE factors, industry trends.
  • List of external drivers
2.4 Identify opportunities to innovate and implications for IT.
  • List of innovation opportunities
  • List of implications for IT
2.5 Determine appetites for IT spend and risk.
2.6 Start building an IT strategy map.

Module 3: Evaluate Current State of IT

The Purpose

Assess the current state of IT and determine its impact on the business and IT.

Key Benefits Achieved

IT opportunities that align to the enhancement and optimization of the IT department.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Review IT budget, spend, and key IT initiatives.
3.2 Discuss diagnostic program results. Diagnostic programs are the workshop prerequisites.
3.3 Perform additional IT capability/maturity assessments.
3.4 Analyze IT performance data, if available.
3.5 Perform IT SWOT analysis.
  • IT current state assessment summary
3.6 Identify additional opportunities to innovate and the implications for the target state of IT.

Module 4: Develop a Target-State Vision

The Purpose

Determine and define an ideal end state for the IT department.

Key Benefits Achieved

A shared sense of purpose for the IT department. 

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Write IT vision and mission statements.
  • IT vision and mission statements
4.2 Define strategic IT goals.
  • Strategic goals for IT
4.3 Define IT guiding principles.
  • IT guiding principles
4.4 Evaluate target state options and define a target state vision for in-scope focus areas.
4.5 Define objectives and measures.
  • Target-state vision

Module 5: Define Initiatives and Build a Roadmap

The Purpose

  • Identify strategic initiatives that address the business/external requirements and the gaps between the current and target state of IT.
  • Build a roadmap to plan for execution. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Defined IT initiatives that align to business and external drivers and the current state of IT.
  • A realistic roadmap to help with execution. 

Activities: Outputs:
5.1 Analyze current state to target state gaps and identify transition options.
5.2 Select optimal transition options and describe related initiatives.
  • Initiative descriptions
5.3 Assess business priorities, high-level economics, risks, organizational readiness, and change management to determine execution schedule.
5.4 Build a roadmap.
  • Strategic IT roadmap
5.5 Obtain formal approval.

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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Case Studies and Deliverables

IT Strategy Case Study of a Mid-Sized Health Care Organization

Performance and ability to support future growth were being challenged by an increasingly complex healthcare market and ever-tightening budgets. IT needed to chart a new course in order to successfully support the organization.

IT Strategy Case Study of a Large Manufacturing Company

Increasing business complexity has been driven by both organic growth and acquisitions. IT had to align its people, projects, and resources with the Company's innovative strategy.

IT Strategy Case Study of a Midwestern Community College

The IT department of a multi-location community college located in the US mid-west had become siloed, operating independently from the needs of the organization it served. Many business-critical issues were not being sufficiently addressed due to poor incident response, lack of service level agreement, and ineffective handling of the project portfolio. As a result, both user satisfaction and business support were ailing. The college underwent a one-week IT Strategy workshop with Info-Tech to help them identify IT-business alignment goals and develop a concrete action plan to achieve them.

IT Strategy Case Study of a Non-Profit Healthcare Provider

A community-based, non-profit healthcare organization has seen a rapid increase in the complexity, scope, and volume of IT services delivered over the past two years. A highly volatile political, social, and economic environment has forced the organization to rapidly adjust to new regulations, consumer needs, and skills requirements to meet project demands. Additional uncertainty around funding has required that all projects be prioritized to best support corporate goals and alignment with the overall organizational strategy. Info-Tech was recruited to help the organization devise an IT strategy to help the organization achieve the IT-business alignment it sought.

IT Strategy Case Study of a Mid-Sized Municipal Government

The IT department of a mid-sized municipality wanted to build its strategic competency, but the team was of the habit of thinking and operating in tactical mode the majority of the time. Developing this competency not only required development of a sound strategic plan, but also an evolution in the mindset of the people involved to ensure execution of the plan could be sustained.

IT Strategy Case Study of a Large Electric Utility

As a result of an audit, a large electrical utility in the US sought to mature its approach to IT strategy by evolving it into an effective, repeatable, and auditable process. The utility opted to align its existing process to COBIT 5 to achieve this goal, with assistance from Info-Tech Research Group.

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Search Code: 58869
Published: June 27, 2013
Last Revised: November 19, 2015

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