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The Rebirth of Strategic Planning

by on January 15, 2013

For the last few years, IT planning has been a limited endeavor. Since the economic collapse of 2008, IT departments have struggled to simply keep the lights on and reactively deal with new issues as they’ve arisen.

This really isn’t a surprise or necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, triage is the best strategy. If you’re bleeding to death, then by all means, bring on the bandages.

One of my all-time favorite business books is Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning by Henry Mintzberg. Let me sum up Mr. Mintzberg for those of you not rushing off to order your own copy. In today’s world, planning has gotten a bad rap. Things change, plans change. So what? Plan anyway. Planning ahead, in detail, gives our new vision substance. We understand the underlying data in our existing situation, the assumptions we need along the way, and the presumed benefits of our end state. Once we have a plan, then it’s time to be agile. We need to be prepared to alter and abandon plans as things change. As data changes and assumptions unravel, having done the hard work of planning, we will be prepared to be intelligently agile.

We’ve kept the lights on. We’ve upgraded to Windows 7 (and, no, upgrading your desktop in and of itself is not strategic – Microsoft  makes you do that). Let’s get strategic. Here are my votes for top IT Strategic initiatives for 2013.

  1. IT Service Model: Having a good consumer-oriented IT Service model means that your business is consuming IT as a service from your service catalog. This model prepares you for cloud computing, application provisioning, and many other As-A-Service initiatives.
  2. Zero Assumption Computing (Any-Any-Any): Develop a long-term plan that acknowledges the chaos of our world and embraces agility. Work on processes and programs that are not dependent on individual applications, infrastructure, or end points.
  3. Automate: Detroit lost more jobs to robots than it did to Japan. If you want to maximize efficiency and lower costs, automation is the answer.


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