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IT Strategic Planning for the New Year – and why it matters!

It will be 2015 in just 2 weeks! New Year’s is always a great chance to reflect and look ahead.

I’m a huge believer in goals – both personally and in business. We follow an extensive strategic planning process at Mainstay – we set top level goals for the year ahead which then cascade down into detailed strategic plans. Each member of the team has his or her own, personalized strategic plan that outlines objectives, time frames, and expectations. 

When we first start working with a new client (which is one of the best things ever!) there is a lot to do –meeting the team, learning the organization, addressing issues, and creating the plans that turn IT into a high-performing component of the organization. Often, the first months contain a lot of playing catch-up and resolving outstanding issues – eliminating the pain that’s so often and so unnecessarily associated with technology.

But even in those early days, it’s critical that we understand who that client is, what they do, and why it matters.  Why? Because turning technology from a pain/frustration/cost into a positive/difference-maker/asset requires technology strategic planning.

“Technology strategic planning” sounds suspiciously like business buzzword (If you love buzzwords as much as I do, check out the Weird Al song “Mission Statement).  All that is meant by it is this concept:  You have a vision for your business. You likely have operational plans to ensure that by the end of 2015 your business isn’t just different – it’s better.  How does IT factor in?  When you peel away the layers, technology is involved in nearly every single operational goal.  Maximizing IT, requires an intentional strategic planning attention.

In the most successful organizations, technology is intentionally planned for, executed, maintained, and supported in such a way that it accelerates the organization’s goals, rather than hindering them.  The IT Department not only can perform so that each goal is met, but it can also innovate and bring forward novel ideas to leverage technology indifference-making ways. 

That is what we seek for all our clients. And the technology strategic planning process is an integral part of our service delivery.

We are honored to serve as that IT department or supplement that IT department for each one of our valued clients. Whether you’re a Mainstay client or not, here are some questions to ask that can assist with your technology strategic planning:

  • If you could wave a magic wand and make 3 things better in your business, what would they be?
  • What scares you the most about the future for your business?
  • If everything you do succeeds,what will be different about your organization in the next 3 years?
  • Have you translated these top priorities into goals? Can you articulate 5 top level goals that will be accomplished over the next 12-24 months?
  • How does technology play into each one of these goals?
  • How confident are you in the people, process, and plans currently in IT, and their ability to support those goals and accomplish the IT components required?
  • Has IT performed its own strategic planning in such a way that supports the organization goals?
  • Do you have business metrics defined for accountability for IT and to measure its success?
  • Has IT brought forward innovations and made recommendations that can help mitigate risk, grow your business,increase efficiencies, and leverage the ever-expanding world of technology?
  • Do you have defined goals for the new year around security risk mitigation, data protection, efficiencies, and new technologies?
  • Do you have a budget set that accurately predicts costs while allowing for enough investment to serve your organizational goals?

And above all… have a Happy New Year!

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