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What Should Be In A CTO Strategic IT plan

Posted by Chris Houghton | 27-Jan-2022 08:00:00

A strategic IT plan defines how technology will help the organisation reach its business goals. The plan details specific IT strategic goals, current IT infrastructure and capabilities, future requirements, and performance and will occasionally include a road map of long-term and short-term projects.  

You need a strategic IT plan if you are looking to scale your business up or down. A strategic IT plan will change depending on your business, goals, and industry. But here are our nine steps on what makes a great strategic plan.  

The nine steps of a CTO's Strategic IT Plan  

Step 1: Outline the business goals and objectives  

Your IT strategy must be aligned with your business goals and objectives as it ensures that your IT strategy remains relevant and specific to your company. Furthermore, by regularly referring to your business objectives, you will create a purposefully and proactively using the IT infrastructure to help achieve the business goals.  

Step 2: Define stakeholders   

Defining your stakeholders ensures that you know who in the business needs what technology, which technology they use, and how they use it. This is important to understand, as it can affect the budget later down the line.  

For example, if the marketing team needs to hire new people, you should be aware of any extra hardware or software those people may need, such as design software like Adobe. This is important as it will add to the standard new starter cost and understanding this will allow you to prepare for any of these extra costs.  

Furthermore, this will help define who is responsible for delivering specific aspects of the IT infrastructure. Is it your legal team who needs to renew licences? Does your finance team need to update subscriptions? Who in the IT team oversees ordering new equipment for new starters? All this information should be detailed in this section of your plan.  

Step 3: Review current IT   

Auditing your current IT infrastructure will create an in-depth understanding of what hardware and software you currently have. You should also note when the hardware will need to be replaced and when the software will need to be updated or renewed.  

Things to take note of:  

  • Organisational infrastructure   
  • Hardware   
  • When hardware is due for an upgrade  
  • Software   
  • When software needed updating  
  • When licences need renewing  
  • Current IT projects   
  • Analyse any gaps   

 

Reviewing your current IT infrastructure will help reduce hidden costs and ensure your cybersecurity is up to scratch.  Use this time to note any gaps you have in your infrastructure, and if budget allows, you can plan on when you can begin to fill these gaps, budget depending.  

Step 4: IT vision statement  

An IT vision statement is an inspirational statement that conveys an ideal situation of how the technology will impact the business. The vision statement should be inspiring, differentiate the market position, guide behaviour, and create an overall, top-level view of how IT will help the businesses reach their goals.  

Step 5: Prioritisation and outline of critical projects   

Use this section of the plan to layout and detail projects and further prioritise them in order of which are critical to the business and will help the company achieve its goals. You should include a high-level justification for each project and break down what is needed, such as hardware, software, and any budget, to complete this.  

Create this section of the plan with flexibility, as urgent projects may occur.  

Remember, an IT strategy must be used as a process, not a strict rule book. Always allow room and budget for any necessary changes.  

Step 6: Explore future needs 

(Is the company growing, shrinking, moving offices, buying a new company, being sold etc.)  

Using your company's business objectives, you need to look into the future and ensure that your current IT infrastructure supports meeting these goals. If your IT cannot support the goals, then this is the time to plan to develop your IT.  

For example, if your business is looking to grow its internal team by 20 people over the next 12 months, you will need to ensure enough equipment (laptops, phones, licences) for these 20 people. If you do not already own the equipment required, the money required should be reflected and incorporated into the IT budget.  

Pre-planning for future needs allows these costs to be incorporated into the IT budget at the beginning of the planning stage. Therefore, it should reduce the likelihood of an unplanned cost in the future.  

Step 7: Create an IT roadmap   

An IT roadmap is a tool that can help plan out long term and short-term goals visually. It looks at where you are in the current year and where you plan to go within the upcoming years.  

Creating an IT roadmap will improve the planning for resources and projects as it will help you anticipate and map what you need and when to complete the project. This will allow you to prepare for upcoming projects, including all the necessary resources, budget, and stakeholders.  

Step 8: Outline the metrics  

To ensure your strategic IT plan is delivering, you should define metrics and KPI's to use t benchmark and analyse the performance of your IT strategy over time. An IT strategy is subject to change for numerous reasons, so regular monitoring and analysing the performance will help you make any adjustments to ensure that it is functional and cost-effective.  

Metrics and KPI's to take note of could include:   

  • Qualitative data such as end-user and customer feedback  
  • Business-level indicators such as how the budget is being spent and customer satisfaction  
  • Operational indicators such as capacity usage and waste  
  • Service indications such as the number of closed tickets   

  

Step 9: Budget and projected costs   

Using the above information, this is the time to outline your desired IT budget and projected costs. You should now have an in-depth understanding of your current inventory, gaps in your inventory, expenses relating to future projections, and the tools you need to help reach your business objectives. From there, you will be able to produce a cost estimation or exact cost of how much funding you will need to be added to the overall IT budget.  

Check out our blog on why an IT budget is important.

And  

Five steps to creating a killer IT budget.

If you would like more information on IT strategy or would like to chat too one of our experts, completely free, please click here to schedule your 15-minute strategy call. We can help you create a tailor-made IT strategy to help you boost productivity and achieve your business goals. 

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Topics: IT Strategy, IT Budget, IT Strat and Bud Camp

Written by Chris Houghton

Client Services Director

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