05 Dec 2016

IT Roadmap Series: Part 3 - Why Strategy is Essential

In last month’s edition of The Voice, we explored the importance of education as a first step in developing an IT roadmap.

The next step is to develop a strategy, which includes developing guiding architecture principles that align to the business strategy, drivers or goals, as well as developing an IT strategy based on those guiding principles to give the business a clear direction.

Without a strategy, it can become easy for the IT roadmap to become just technology-driven, which can prevent it from fulfilling the business’s needs. The strategy should be a living document that is constantly checked to ensure it continues to reflect the business goals and drivers. 

 

  1. Mapping business strategy to business capabilities

The IT roadmap should be developed to empower the business in some way, therefore, the first step is to understand how the business strategy relates to current capabilities. This will identify capability gaps that need to be filled and will likely require an IT investment.

 

  1. Aligning business strategy and capabilities to IT initiatives

Many businesses already have IT initiatives planned or in place as they embark on a roadmap development project. It’s important to review the business strategy and capabilities against current IT initiatives to understand what’s already in place and what needs to be considered as a future investment.

 

  1. Discussion and creation of guiding architecture principles

Different businesses derive value from different architecture principles, such as agile, secure, customer-centric, and adaptive. Accordingly, the roadmap should reflect this.

 

  1. Aligning IT initiatives to ICT Big Bets

ICT Big Bets can include philosophies like cloud-first, security, customer-centricity, and leadership. This will start to paint a picture of what types of technology the business should choose to fulfil key IT initiatives. This understanding will also give rise to a ballpark budget.

 

  1. Exploring ICT Big Bets

Once the ICT Big Bets have been established, it is possible to break down what each one means for the organisation and its customers in terms of risk and reward, determine which technologies map to which Big Bets, and when each technology or Big Bet should be brought into play.

The entire roadmap is based on these Big Bets, so it’s important to spend time discussing them and ensuring they fit with the organisation’s goals.

The strategy document should be relatively high-level but it shouldn’t take weeks or months to prepare. Instead, it should briefly outline where the business is heading, and why. It should also include tables that list the tactics that will be employed and how these relate back to the strategy. A budget and future directions should also be included.

When Brennan IT builds strategy documents for clients, it includes a detailed rationale for recommendations, as well as a business plan. This is to make it simpler to gain executive buy-in and sponsorship for the roadmap. The resulting plan provides a clear direction for the IT transformation project and helps ensure success.

In the next edition of The Voice, we will outline the next step to a successful IT roadmap, which is the development itself, and how to establish a timeline.

 

If you would like more information on how to build a successful IT roadmap, or to find out how Brennan IT can help your organisation, please visit http://www.brennanit.com.au or contact us on 1300 500 000.

 

 

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