The Strategic Technology Planning Process
Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: its starting point.
It is our feeling that almost all information technology departments employ smart people. By this we mean they are usually technically competent and can perform many of the technology tasks assigned to them: setting up computers, networks and getting e-mail to work. But my experiences have shown that most of the project managers and managers in the IT department did not have any formal training in strategy development. Most were promoted from within the IT department. They frequently were promoted because they could perform the everyday technology tasks.Few IT managers I have worked with have a strong reputation within their organization as strategic thinkers. They seldom lead company-wide discussions on how technology can be used to make their organizations more competitive.
During the late 1990s the role of technology started started to change. Technology strategy planning has become one of the top concerns of CEOs. It was not just large companies that needed to think strategically about technology. Even small non-profits needed a web site and effective e-mail list management.
Responding to this need we have developed a formal process for helping small-to-medium sized organizations develop a formal process for creating a technology strategy. Although it is based on many of the standard Harvard Business School strategic planning best practices, the model but has strong influences by the factors that influence IT: the rapid change of technology, the role of standards and network effects of technology.Here are two of the initial phases of some of these process:
Internal Factor Analysis
- We first try to understand your technology process, your people, you politics and your passions.
- We try to understand where you deliver the most value to your customer and how that is reflected in your profitability.
- We compare you internal practices to best practices in other organizations.
- We look at how your technology department is working with your marketing department.
- We look for and encourage people who understand the potential that technologies bring to an organization.
- We look at your technology infrastructure.
- We look at your project management skills.
- We look for technology champions.
External Factor Analysis
- We look at how Moore's Law will affect your technology strategy.
- We look at how Metcalf's Law will change your industry.
- We analyze how various technology services are being outsourced today and in the future.
- We look at your industry.
- We look at your competition.
- We look at your partners.
- We look at your distribution methods.
- We look for significant changes in your external environment.