Thursday, June 27, 2013

CIO’s Journey: From Crafing Strategy to Taking Roadmap

 IT roadmap is a playbook every IT executive should have or build whether requested or not.

If the strategy is a“blue book” to envision the future of organization; then, the roadmap is more as a playbook to describe in detail upon how to get there. IT road map is a chronological plan designed to blaze a clear path for IT investments and to ensure that the company gains the set of capabilities, expressed in the form of architecture “blueprint” & ‘strategy bluebook”. 

IT roadmap is a playbook every IT executive should have or build whether requested or not, as it is essential to the CIO doing his/her job correctly and being able to act when working with the business. But how should CIOs develop an effective and realistic IT roadmap? What might be some initial questions that one should ask?

Start with series of questions: (1) Why do you think you need an IT Roadmap? (2) Does the business see a value in such an effort? (3) Does IT see a value in such an effort? 4) What are some of the initial steps one should take? A good place to start asking questions is those that elicit where/what you are today (current state) and what does "the end of the road" also known as a target state. Be able to communicate the roadmap and make sure it is flexible and evolves with the company

IT strategic planning: The next step must be to understand the business strategy/roadmap/ culture, within that context, you develop IT strategic planning (bluebook of direction) and IT roadmap (playbook with milestones), you need to know where they are today and get a perspective on how IT is supporting the business today. Once you know that current state (the starting point) for both the business and IT and how well they interrelate and get a vision for the business, then you can begin to put a vision together for IT. The last step will be to determine how you get from current state to the vision state in detail (the roadmap). A key ingredient will be the expectations and requirements from business management on how they expect IT to contribute to the overall business.
Understand your current state. This includes:
- an inventory of the services IT currently provides to the business - technology assets used to provide/operate/support those service - people assets used to provide/operate/support those services - the costs of the assets and services necessary to bring the internal IT services to the business - current IT project portfolio (new/upgraded services already planned and services to be retired) - current business strategy - what new technologies/service are emerging in the market that the business and/or IT thinks would benefit the current business strategy - what opportunities are available to improve/consolidate/retire services

Define Future State: When building the future state, make sure that you break it down into looking at the ideal future first, followed by the real future and then finally the practical one
- what is the future business strategy? (2~3years).
- what services will IT need to provide to support the future business strategy (what will be new/changed and what will be retired)
- what technology assets are currently on the market and/or emerging that will be necessary to provide those services
- what people assets will be necessary to provide those services

Develop an IT Roadmap from Current state to Future State:
- it should overlay squarely on the business strategy
- it should be no longer out than the business strategy and no longer than 18/24 months
- it should include a high-level IT project portfolio to accomplish the transition of IT services in terms of technology, people, and secondary services
- it should provide financial assets required for the transition

Develop the business plan and cases: Roadmaps can sometimes be just technology transitions, but usually have social and organizational components of change. Develop a business plan for the IT strategic roadmap; develop the business case for the roadmap; begin to socialize with business team and management to gain support.
- Begin with the current application and infrastructure portfolio. Application portfolio is probably easier to obtain.
-Next Steps: outline the major business processes at the highest level.
-Map the applications to the processes -- by location/region/etc.
-Begin the process of evaluating the current application portfolio for 'the keepers' -apps that can form the foundation for the future
-Create your sunset plan for duplicate applications Are there multiple applications providing the same service? Look to re-use and integrate wherever possible.
- Pay specific attention to integration, quality, standards, regulations, etc.

Stay close to the business throughout the entire process: Get some great business people in the company to help you both as a participant and also as a reviewer and find the "influencers" in each business area to help criticize and make suggestions. Understand the business that the company is in and its competitors to look at how other companies are doing the same processes or functions. Talk to other companies or use your other resources.

Understand business processes: Always look at the business processes and data as well as the current business functions to make sure that you truly understand how the business does its job- not just the job they do. This will help you understand why potential current solutions are the way they are and also help you look for possible re-engineering efforts that the business will want or is doing that you will have to handle in the future state. It's much easier if there is an Asset Management system that contains the applications and infrastructure -- and, there are tools that will use that information to support the development and representation of the end state.

Put together a priority scheme such as A - Must have, B - Need, C- Want or Like to have. Validate this as part of both the current and future state. Make sure the recommended roadmap is staged with alternatives and complete high-level resource and budgets included. You have to have a prioritized staged approach that lets the company get the biggest bang for the buck as early as possible versus requiring everything to be completed before any benefit.

Detail Scenario to develop IT Roadmap:

1)     Identify key people in the business at all level, who use the system to meet the business needs in terms of strategy execution, information analysis, record keeping etc. 
2)     Conduct a survey - Ask them to write about their imagination of an Ideal IT system to meet their needs, their expectations of IT to help in business along with timelines, the timelines and their contributions to meet their own expectations.
3)     Understand the business strategy (If exists in black and white) or use the one that is most commonly perceived by the key personnel in the business.
4)     Publish the consolidated list of your findings and apply feedback.
5)     Understand the organization culture and how IT savvy it is.
6)     Understand and do an inventory of current IT department in infrastructure, skills, personnel, capabilities, ambitions & aspirations. 
7)     Using the above data, define” to be” state at the end of the time period that you are developing the roadmap for. Usually 3 to 5 years
8)     Define more than one ways of achieving the goal 
9)     For each approach, estimate costs, resources required, timelines, risks involved, and trends 
10) Conduct organizational level briefing and choose most suitable and acceptable approac
11) Break it down into several stages. Each stage being a point where in business gets the benefit of the activities so far or taken up the activities so far to form a stepping stone for the big step. 
12) Attach timelines, interim goals, assumptions, business units’ support needs and implementation plans. 
13) Get acceptance from the senior management for the costs, timelines, budget allocation, resource requirements, training, and freeze the road map and publish it.


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