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Define an IT Strategy and Roadmap

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

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Contributors

  • 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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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.

Research & Tools

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.

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 Implementations

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

Call #1 - Determine mandate and scope

Determine mandate; define scope; complete project charter.

Call #2 - Assess drivers and constraints

Assess business drivers; assess external drivers; begin strategy map.

Call #3 - Evaluate the current state of IT

Assess the holistic IT; assess the current state of IT for each focus area; identify performance data.

Call #4 - Develop a target state vision

Identify target state; form target-state options; set target-state vision.

Call #5 - Define the transition initiatives

Identify gaps; identify transition options; select transition initiatives.

Call #6 - Build a roadmap

Determine business-driven priorities; plan to manage change and risk; finalize roadmap and secure approval.

Call #7 - Execute your IT strategy

Discuss any key metrics; identify key execution challenges and possible mitigation techniques; identify key objectives for the next three months.

Info-Tech Academy

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IT Strategy Course

Develop a data-driven, fit-for-purpose plan with a strong link to execution.
This course makes up part of the Strategy & Governance Certificate.

Course information:

  • Title: IT Strategy Course
  • Number of Course Modules: 8
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 2-3 hours
  • Featured:
  • David Yackness, Sr. Research Director, CIO Practice
  • Gord Harrison, SVP of Research and Advisory
  • Now Playing: Executive Brief

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

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 roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

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.

Outputs

Activities:

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.

Outputs

Activities:

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.

Outputs

Activities:

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.

Outputs

Activities:

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.

Outputs

Activities:

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.

Member Testimonials

Schedule Analyst Call

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this Blueprint, and what our clients have to say.

Client

$ Saved

Days Saved

Testimonial

Anschutz Entertainment Group

N/A

N/A

Bermuda Monetary Authority

$45,932

15

Very, very informative and excellent transfer of knowledge.

Cincinnati Public Schools

N/A

N/A

As far as organization and facilitation goes, it was an absolutely wonderful experience. Both facilitators where very thoughtful and insightful. They picked up on things that are specific to our industry as if they had been doing it for years. What's resonating with me is that it was very valuable to get the facilitators' perspective. As they were facilitating with us they were really digging into our work and our projects and even our role at the organization. I really appreciated getting their fresh eyes and hearing positive things they noticed about our work and our organization and our work within the organization. It was just nice to get a fresh perspective from guys who've done this many times with many different organizations

City of Brighton, Colorado

$32,808

90

Process was concise and the deliverables were as expected.

City of North Vancouver

N/A

N/A

Best: Good knowledge of municipal environment. Worst: travel costs.

City of Santa Fe

$13,123

N/A

Having an experienced and neutral facilitator for the IT strategy development is the best aspect of the experience. The facilitator has such a pleasant personality, he challenges in a respectful way and engages the participants in a positive way. Now we have a document that we can reference and that's helpful. The workshop was an effective way to get a high level strategic roadmap. You can spend months and lots of time developing the perfect strategic plan and of course it's out of date as soon as you put it on paper. Now we have a high level plan that we can drill down into and communicate, which is exactly what I wanted to get.

District Municipality Of Muskoka

N/A

15

The overall experience was excellent. I now need to move forward with the outputs, which will be the difficult part. I look forward to more engagements with Info-Tech.

Fernco Inc.

$65,617

30

Flexibility of the Info-Tech facilitators and willingness to tailor the templates to create practical approaches to develop an IT Strategy for a small IT staff.

GreatAmerica Financial Services

$1

N/A

I dislike the dollar question because this survey is sent too soon after the engagement to put an effective number here. That said, the exercise did provide guidance and value. My leadership team has a better understanding of where we should be heading as a department.

Pekin Insurance

$32,808

15

Best: We got a very good document for discussion with our leadership. Worst: It seemed that some of the exercises were a little play it by ear. Was hoping they would have synthesized more of the reports we had prior to the start.

Sonepar Canada Inc.

N/A

30

Nothing negative. Still need to validate workshop results though.

Southwest Care Center

$26,247

15

Ross and Emanuel were very professional and provided excellent guidance, and wordsmithing to prepare the PowerPoint presentation for our executives and board members.

Tulalip Data Services

$98,524

N/A

TDS Management became energized and departmental relationships were strengthened. There were no 'worst' aspects of this strategy workshop!

Client

Facilitator(s) effectiveness

INFO & materials effectiveness

Overall experience

Understanding of next steps

Testimonial

San Francisco Health Plan

10.0

8.5

9.0

6.0

Dead River

8.5

6.0

7.5

8.0

Toronto District School Board

9.0

8.5

8.5

8.0

Bendigo Kangan

9.5

10.0

9.5

9.0

Vopak North America

9.0

9.0

9.0

9.0

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company

9.0

10.0

9.0

8.0

Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board

9.5

8.5

9.0

9.0

Oxford Industries Inc

8.0

10.0

8.5

7.0

The workshop agenda and approach were all laid out very well. The materials were indicative of that. I thought it was really clever that there's a shell, you're not creating everything from scratch, and that helped us get through the workshop very efficiently. We stuck to the script if you will, but it was built so that it's layer upon layer upon layer of information; it builds and grows on itself from the beginning to the end of the workshop. I thought that was very effective. The materials that were used and the work products that came out were all relevant -- it was all related.

Bay Cove Human Services Inc.

9.0

7.0

8.0

5.0

Niagara College

10.0

9.0

9.0

9.0

Customers Bank

8.0

9.5

8.0

8.0

Kadlec Regional Medical Center

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

We got to the end of the week and had achieved 100% of what we had anticipated. I accomplished my goals of trying to create the strategic pillars and having a structure that would live on for years to come, as well as getting into the weeds on the things we want to get very specific on for the next three years. With Info-Tech's help, we accomplished both. The exercises were extraordinarily useful. Any time you have a platform like Info-Tech provided us, it's always easier to then build on that platform and keep it going. None of us were really that familiar with COBIT. The time we spent with Info-Tech examining that framework and our reaction to it was very helpful. It was something new to us that might actually change our direction. We think this framework might fit our vertical better.

Canadian Red Cross

8.5

9.0

9.0

9.0

The Corporation of the City of Timmins

9.0

8.0

9.0

8.0

It is significant that the entire Senior Management Team participated in this workshop for a full day. With so many other demands on them I was actually surprised that they were able to attend the whole session. The ITRG facilitator was extremely proficient at helping the business unit executives grasp the impact of IT on their operations and recognize how an IT Strategic Plan could support their business unit's strategic initiatives.

World Trade Organization

9.0

7.0

9.0

7.0

Emerson Climate Technologies

8.0

9.0

9.0

9.0

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries

8.0

6.0

8.0

5.0

Children's Hospitals and Clinics

10.0

10.0

10.0

8.0

Phri

9.0

9.0

9.0

6.0

Ameren Services Company, Inc

9.0

8.0

9.0

7.0

Butler Community College

9.0

10.0

9.0

10.0

Kele

8.0

9.0

8.0

City of Yorkton

8.0

8.0

8.0

AtlaGas Utiliites Inc.

9.0

8.0

9.0

9.0

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