Strategic IT Planning Stumbling Blocks

Another theme is change or, more specifically, the rate of technological
change, said Craig Lawton, who leads Boston Consulting Group’s America’s IT

“Most companies have some level of IT plan,” agreed AMR’s Gaughan, who
believes the 60% number cited in CSC’s study is a bit high, “but to plan out
so far in IT has been difficult because things change so rapidly.”

Or so the story goes.

Some IT managers believe technology changes so rapidly, to plan is a waste
of time.

Lawton’s standard answer is any plan off of which you can bounce ideas is
better than stumbling around in the dark.

Lastly, and not something IT can do much about, is the lack of long-range
planning on the part of the business. Many businesses do not have a three-
or five-year plan, so, by default, it is nearly impossible for IT to think
long-term, said Lawton.

What CIOs in these situations do is cobble together a shorter-term plan,
say, for one year, using their knowledge of technology coupled with past
performance metrics and assumptions about the future.

“That’s why a lot of companies have gotten to the place they’re in today,”
said Lawton, “which is a little of everything and not a very well
thought-out approach to ‘How do I optimize the data architecture, the
application architecture, the infrastructure in a way that’s leading to

Regardless of what’s tying your hands, this remains the $64,000 question and
one that, increasingly, needs to be answered.

“I don’t think you can … be in that top quartile of companies and not have a
pretty well thought-out strategic plan for IT that at least gives you the next two to three years,” he said.

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