Strategic planning is used to help organisations prepare for growth in the size and scale of their operations. In mid-market organisations (those with 50-500 staff), the priorities of the organisation typically shift as they grow out of being a small to medium sized organisation. The shift is from a very reactive, very cost conscious model (which is how most organisations start) to more of a desire to be proactive and being able to use technology to create competitive advantages or efficiencies for the organisation.
In this post, R&G Technologies Managing Director Gordon Tan explains how IT can be overlooked during the strategic planning process and how
Organisational planning in the not-for-profit sector
Organisational planning is not usually prepared properly in the not-for-profit sector, which can come down to a lack of understanding around how the strategic planning process works within IT. Often at an organisational level, strategic planning can mapped out quite well. However, many organisations lack the internal capability to incorporate IT at this strategic level. This stems from really not having not only the resources available to be able to commit the time to do it, but also some internal IT staff can become quite insular.
Internal IT staff can become extremely familiar with and build a deep level of understanding of the technologies that are currently used within the environment. They may not necessarily have the time to keep abreast of all of the technologies that are changing within the rest of the sector and therefore, sometimes, may not be aware of technology shifts within the industry.
These two factors combined create a problem of a lack of clear strategic IT plans for mid-market organisations.
Mid-market organisations usually have dedicated IT teams in one form or another.
Mid-market organisations' IT capabilities can vary from having some internal IT capability and outsourcer to an external IT services provider that they may liaise with from time to time.
It may start with something as simple as the external IT services provider just helping with very high level escalations, and potentially providing some strategic guidance. They could be engaged to develop and implement a more integrated approach, where the outsourcer is performing "business as usual" type of services for the organisation as well as them organisation having an internal IT team. It is very rare to see an internal IT team that has absolutely no relationship with an external IT services provider.
Alternatively, an external IT services provider, like R&G Technologies, can perform all of the IT function for organisation, from the service desk support to the strategic CIO level consulting and everything in between.
So what will work for my organisation?
There are a variety of reasons as to which IT services model is chosen at an executive level. There are different solutions that will suit different organisations based on what their needs are.
From a strategic IT planning standpoint, the first thing that you really should be doing is getting buy in at the executive level that there is going to be a strategic IT plan, and that the plan is somewhat going to be aligned with the organisation's overarching strategy for the next 12, 24, 36 months.
From there it is time to build a strategy. Your first port of call will to an external IT provider that can provide you with some level of guidance as well as proactive internal staff who will be able to offer to help build that with you. A strategy is not something that gets built in a bubble with just the external IT provider, neither should you build it in a bubble internally. Look to leverage that wider capability and experience, or at least consider that as part of your strategic plan.
Need tips on strategy? Find out how to build an effective IT strategy.