Strategic IT Planning Stumbling Blocks - Page 2

Mar 19, 2004

Allen Bernard

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

"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 something?'"

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.

Want to discuss the issues raised here? Take it over to our IT Management Forum.

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