What does a vCIO do? – IT Strategy Planning Process

We are continuing our series that gives back to the industry answering the question, “What does a vCIO do?” and each article will outline a specific service offering of Outsourced CIO LLC in the day and the life of a vCIO.  Some call this “virtual” Chief Information Officer or “fractional” CIO and for the sake of this series, we will be changing the “v” to mean “VALUED” CIO.  Because the vCIO creates value for growing businesses who might not otherwise be able to afford a Chief Information Officer.  Our topic for today is “IT Project Portfolio Planning Process.”

IT Strategy Planning Process – Annual Project or Service, estimated time to complete:  5 hours.

The deliverable for the IT Strategy Planning Process is the core element of success with technology. The process uses the special business opportunity and bottleneck discovery methods to prepare a detailed technology plan that stands as the cornerstone of the execution during the year.  It produces a development roadmap, quarterly plan, and governance plan.  An information technology (IT) strategic plan is a document that details the comprehensive technology-enabled business management processes an organization use to guide operations. It serves as a guide to IT-related decision making, with IT tasks prioritized and implemented using the plan as a framework. (SearchCIO.Techtarget.Com)

IT Strategy Planning Process also helps guide an organization as it formulates its overall IT strategy. While an IT strategy focuses on how IT will help the business succeed, an IT strategic plan is a roadmap to help the business implement those strategies. The plan outlines areas where IT can contribute business value and where an organization can gain a competitive advantage by making the best use of technology resources.IT Strategic Planning Process

The objectives outlined in an organization’s IT strategic plan align with the organization’s goals and mission, but are pliable enough to accommodate new business priorities and technologies that have the potential for driving business growth.  Gartner suggests in their “IT Strategic Planning Key Initiative Overview”, the following:

What IT Strategic Planning Means to CIOs – CIOs should consider these points before beginning a strategic planning initiative:

  • Purpose: Highlight the purpose of the strategy and its audience — its primary target, and the other key stakeholders and their roles.
  • Scope: Identify what the strategy will cover in terms of time periods, functional areas, business units, and
  • Process: Determine how much time will be needed to create the strategy, and how the process dovetails with enterprisewide strategic planning.
  • Outside-In: Think about your company’s underlying business model, other businesses with a similar model and what you can learn from your strategy.
  • Communication: Consider using strategy moments — frequent communications about strategy in all meetings — to make strategy an ongoing conversation in the enterprise.

Gartner further suggests using this structured approach:

  • Analyze Information: Clarify the business context — how the business does and will win. Determine how the IT organization can clarify the purpose and scope of the IT strategy in light of the business’s vision, mission and value proposition. Consider planning for uncertainty.
  • Benchmark and Model: Compare business and IT performance against a standard, and determine areas of risk and opportunity.
  • Develop Governance: Develop processes and policies, including principles, financial management, and metrics, for making the strategy come to life.
  • Drive Change Management: Determine how best to create a group-level strategy, which can address the needs of the enterprise and all business units. Formulate a process to transition individuals, teams and organizations from the current state to the desired, future strategic state.
  • Monitor and Assess: Observe and evaluate the financial management mechanisms and the business success metrics to make adjustments that will improve business outcomes.

That’s is it!  That is what a vCIO does.  Check out the online video on this topic as well.  Have a tech-stress free day from Outsourced CIO LLC, where we demystify technology for growing businesses.