Key success factor for IT strategic planning
Strategic planning is a process of identifying long-term goals and objectives of any organization and then selecting the most appropriate approach for achieving those goals. In judging the impact that IS can have on the strategic planning process, the leveraging of the organization’s information resource can make or break the process of achieving the strategic plan.
The corporate strategic plan, under the care of top management, represents the shared vision of corporate intent and provides an execution framework for a specific period of time. It sets an overall direction for the organization and lays the ground rules for the acceptance of new projects, products, and services. This facilitates the identification and selection of the best tactical and operational interventions in order to achieve strategic objectives. It allows prioritization of activities and expenditures in order to maximize the probability that successful outcomes will be achieved.
Strategic planning is therefore a broad-brush approach involving a statement of corporate intent. This then must be translated into tactical plans developed to meet the overall strategic objectives. This will typically involve a variety of individual operational objectives streamlined to ensure that all work undertaken will eventually assist in the achievement of the overall corporate goal.
From an IS perspective, the effectiveness of these tactical goals will depend largely on the clarity of the corporate vision being communicated to the operational managerial level. If misalignment takes place at this point, an organization can spend many years and many millions of dollars developing systems specifically designed to take the organization in the wrong direction. An IS strategy rests upon the comprehension of the corporate vision, which in turn leads to the development of an appropriate framework together with its management and control mechanisms through to its execution in the delivery of appropriate information processing systems. Development of an appropriate framework assists in achieving the vision by providing the structure within which results are measurable, repeatable, and sustainable. This is critical because IS strategy is a dynamic process as the corporate vision is dynamic dependent upon market circumstances. As with any other process it does not stand alone and must be integrated into the other business processes of the organization such as enterprise planning, budgetary control, product development, and delivery and marketing. Like all other business planning processes it must be both measurable and measured
Source: Auditor’s guide to information systems auditing, Richard E. Cascarino 2007