IT Management Planning: Why is it Important and How to Start Implementing
IT Management Planning demonstrated its importance in 2020. When normalcy reigned at the beginning of the year, we suddenly plunged into a world of uncertainty and profound change three months later. Organizations with well-developed contingency plans were able to cope. Others panicked.
Having a clearly-articulated IT Management Plan gave the organization confidence that its existing business processes could continue, even while radical changes were taking place elsewhere. The need for IT support for “traditional” business imperatives, including the time to market, competitive advantage, and operational efficiencies continue.
As an example, for many, the transition to remote and home working has prompted a root and branch review of their IT strategy and management plans.
The usual business metrics will continue to influence core IT requirements, such as the alignment of Business and IT plans and long-term strategic IT planning. These requirements will affect capital and operational expenditure on IT architecture, portfolio management, and systems delivery. Understanding the relationships between these drivers, their impact on IT, and the associated trade-offs are critical to managing an effective IT organization. That may be more fluid than usual right now, so careful coordination is needed.
IT management must carry out IT Management Planning to prepare short and long-term budgets to implement their IT strategic plans. At the simplest, the IT Strategic Plan must align with the corporate goals and development plan.
There is a temptation today to focus entirely on short-term planning to overcome immediate crisis imperatives. It tends to be operational and, to an extent, tactical. Long-term strategic planning takes a bit of a back-seat. Perhaps taking larger decisions will need to be taken further down the road to realign business and IT plans.
It’s not just the large organizations that need IT Management Planning SME’s need to plan for providing the correct IT infrastructure and support.
Even in the current environment, IT Management Planning is essential. Much more fluid, much more reactive, and much more responsive to changes in corporate strategies. And most importantly, much quicker.
How to Start Implementing
The traditional timescale for implementation of IT strategic plans has collapsed in 2020. Many businesses don’t have the luxury of extended implementation timetables. The transition to remote working and work-from-home meant the speedy implementation of remote access facilities. An Internet presence became essential, in turn, meaning significantly improved malware anti-intrusion software.
Many other organizations moved from a shop-front operation to online e-commerce stores. For many, this was an act of survival.
That is not to say that implementation must start without a proper plan in place. It’s quite the reverse.
Poper planning is essential to ensure the correct deployment of resources and identify where external support is needed. It will also ensure that the allocation of budgets happens in advance.
An essential part of an IT implementation is a communications plan. The new environment is taking people from their current comfort zone to somewhere new. If they feel that they are railroaded into change without adequate communications, they will, at best, ignore them, and at worst, actively resist.
Senior management is the primary stakeholder, with a senior executive as the Project Sponsor.
It is often advantageous to have a one-off or series of information sessions as part of the project start-up. The audience will be the affected stakeholders, and the objective is to bring them on board, hopefully making them enthusiastic supporters of the change.
Some other considerations
The delivery times for goods and services have changed, and these need factoring into any implementation plan. Implementing timetables and activities may need changes to accommodate delays or unavailability of goods or services.
In some cases, the quickest and most foolproof approach is to outsource. It can also bring a degree of certainty to capital and operational costs. Further, it can allow core business functions to continue without interruption during a transition to new working methods.
For example, data to day operations are outsourced, either to an in-house service provider or an external managed service provider. In both cases, this releases internal resources from routine to more urgent implementation tasks. The IT department can focus on the delivery of the tasks in the implementation plan.
Times are changing, but the need for proper IT Management Planning is as essential as ever.