An information technology (IT) strategic plan is a document that details the comprehensive technology-enabled business management processes an organization uses to guide operations. It serves as a guide to IT-related decision making, with IT tasks prioritized and implemented using the plan as a framework.
The plan also helps guide an organization as it formulates its overall IT strategy. While an IT strategy focuses on how IT will help the business succeed, an IT strategic plan is a roadmap to help the business implement those strategies. The plan outlines areas where IT can contribute business value and where an organization can gain competitive advantage by making the best use of technology resources.
The objectives outlined in an organization's IT strategic plan align with the organization's goals and mission, but are pliable enough to accommodate new business priorities and technologies that have the potential for driving business growth. It is important for an organization's IT team to know its priorities and identify the IT projects that the business should invest in. According to Gartner, an IT research and consultancy company, the plan delineates what has to be done, in what priority and how the plan's success will be measured.
Components of an IT strategic plan
The IT strategic plan should outline a mission statement that states what it plans to achieve and how the IT strategy relates to the organization's overall business objectives. Often the first step to creating an effective IT strategic plan is to start with reviewing the organization's strategic plan, which helps in identifying the areas where the use of technology can improve operations.
The IT strategic plan should include a SWOT analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to identify both internal and external factors that can affect IT's ability to contribute to an organization's success. This process will also help analyze the gap between where the IT department currently is in achieving its goals and what it wants to achieve. The department can then identify the barriers and the resources needed to bridge the gap.
The SWOT analysis also helps to identify any of the company's technological assets that might be an unknown competitive advantage and that the organization should consider investing.
Finally, it is important that the IT strategic plan be clear about its ultimate goals, including a list of technology investments that the IT department deems a priority to contribute to the organization's success. However, the plan should also include evaluations of the company's current IT budget and allocate project-specific resources and responsibilities within the IT department to meet these objectives.