Benjamin Franklin is credited as the first to have said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” That adage is especially true when it comes to business. An IT strategic plan can be described as a road map for a business.
It gives directions on where your business is headed over the next few years and tells in broad terms what is needed to get there.
Here are some reasons why IT strategic planning is a must for Los Angeles distributors.
An IT Strategic Plan is the Rudder
As mentioned, the strategic plan gives a sense of direction and lays out goals for the company. It is different from a business plan, which is used by new businesses to define a company purpose and plan what resources are needed to get up and running.
A strategic plan involves laying out goals for guiding decisions and evaluating how well those goals are met, using quantitative measurements. An IT strategic plan today might decide if, when, and how, cloud technology is implemented and what the plans are for mobile devices.
If there is to be integration, goals need to be established for how this is done and what constitutes a successful integration or implementation.
What is in a Strategic Plan?
- Mission Statement – This should also be a part of a business plan. This is where, in a few sentences, you define your IT goals and philosophies. It defines what is behind the decision making. It needs to be general enough to cover what the company does for employees, customers, and the community. It also needs to be narrow enough to provide focus, and it needs to be actionable.
- Goals – The strategic plan needs goals laid out that are expected to be met by the company to be successful. These cannot be open-ended general goals. They must be measurable so they can be used to evaluate whether the company is on track to develop as expected.
- Built-in Flexibility – Strategic plans are not written in stone. Once a strategic plan is in place, it needs to be evaluated periodically to determine its effectiveness. If the market has changed, or goals cannot be realistically met, the plan has to be one that can be adjusted and redefined.
Causes of IT Strategic Plan Failure
Realizing that a plan is needed is the first step. Doing it right is the next step. Here are some common traits of strategic plans that will fail:
- Not committing fully – The strategic plan has to be accepted and followed from the top all the way down. Everyone must be on board for it to succeed.
- No Purpose – Having a plan just because you think you should have one without studying what your company’s needs are and what your market is like is wasted effort.
- Not Quantifiable – If the goals cannot be measured, then there is no way of knowing if the strategic plan is working. Along with this is accountability. If realistic goals are not being met, there need to be consequences.
- Not Flexible – Rigid, unchangeable plans are going to leave you behind your competition when the market environment changes. New technology may require re-evaluating goals or establishing new ways of measuring progress.
- Ignoring the Plan – This is a surprisingly common occurrence. Plans get written and then never followed, evaluated, or even looked at again.
Make a Strategic Plan, Follow the Plan, and Be Successful
To reiterate our starting point – failing to plan is a sure way to fail. This is where an IT service provider can make a difference. Their knowledge can help you avoid the common pitfalls and help you write a clear mission and establish realistic, measurable goals.
Lead your company into the future with confidence knowing that you are not blindly going forward but are traveling down a well thought out path that leads to success.
Has your distribution company figured out your IT strategic plan? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.