The result of the failure of a company to have an IT strategy in place can be summarised as follows: • Competitors, suppliers and customers gaining advantage. • Corporate objectives becoming unachievable due to systems limitations. • Systems are not integrated thus causing duplication of effort, inaccuracy, delays and poor quality management information. • Systems’ implementations are late, over cost and fail to deliver expected benefits. • No means exist to establish appropriate IS/IT resource levels, to evaluate investments and set priorities.
When Information Systems Planning is properly utilised, it provides a number of important organisational benefits. • It aligns IS/IT with business goals, enabling a contribution to the company’s key strategic thrusts. • It provides the possibility for IS/IT systems which are fully integrated across each department, which in turn allows for company-wide management of Information Systems. • The needs of the customer are fully considered and satisfied. • It builds a relationship between the IT department and the rest of the business. This secures commitment to the IS/IT strategy, since all key stakeholders are involved in the process. • Effective planning can serve to justify the expenditure of considerable resources on long term IS projects by highlighting those projects which best serve the needs of the organisation and weeding out inappropriate projects. • It provides a platform for control of the entire IS initiative within the firm. This in turn leads to a structured approach to IS use and a shared understanding as to the potential of IS to aid decision making.
Key Issues in ISP • The need to align the corporate objectives with the IS strategy. • Linking IS to business goals is the heart of IS planning, and without this link, the IS function will not have major relevance for the organization. • The lack of a business plan can be a real impediment • If business planning is effective, and business goals and objectives well defined, then the IS plan can be more effectively linked to the business goals. • The planning horizon: • Fewer problems and less severe problems occur with a planning horizon of 3-5 years, as this allows more control of the plan. • The scope of the IS study: • A broader scope can give IS planners a better vision of the required data architecture. • The initiator of the IS planning study: • Can be an important factor affecting the planning process; though IS managers seek the involvement and commitment of senior and line management, they still prefer to maintain control of the planning exercise.
Key Issues in ISP… • The methodology used in developing the IS plan. • ISSP methodologies often result in very satisfactory plans, but a lack of management commitment and the absence of the control mechanisms necessary to ensure the success of the plans can impede its implementation. • The need for an appropriate understanding of the IT organizational structure: • How companies organize their IT activities may have a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of their support. • Relationship of IS managers and chief information officers (CIO) with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). • Poor communication links between the IS manager and the CEO indicate that the organization does not place a high value on IS, or its planning. • Good communication links between the CIO and other business units is important to IS for other reasons, e.g. in obtaining the understanding and support of current and potential clients. • While new technology can be advantageous, it can also pose severe problems if the right skills and expertise are not available to use it properly. • On-going evaluation of the IS strategic plan to ensure that the plan is implemented correctly, and the expected results are being obtained.
Organisation of the Planning Effort • Three types of organisation for the IS planning group • The Central IS Controlled Planning Group • IS planning is carried out by a group within the IS department • The Corporate Steering Committee • made up from representatives of various line functions as well as representatives of top management. • It develops the information systems function in a direction that is consistent with overall corporate strategy • Decentralised Planning Groups • each organisational division has responsibility for its own information systems planning, with a central IS department providing only common services and co-ordination
The impact of organizational commitment, senior management involvement and team involvement on strategic information systems planning
The impact of organizational commitment, senior management involvement and team involvement on strategic information systems planning Expected to have a positive impact on the achievement of SISP objectives. • Greater organizational commitment would result in more and better planning resources that could produce a higher quality plan that better accomplishes organizational objectives. • Greater senior management involvement would provide better knowledge about organizational objectives and hence a plan that can accomplish them better. • Greater team involvement would provide more knowledge about organization operations, and hence a plan that addresses them better so that the organization could better accomplish objectives. • Excessive organizational commitment could result in excessive planning resources that would require excessive communication among planners, hence delay the creation or updating of the plan while the business changes, and thus result in the failure to accomplish objectives. • Excessive senior management and team involvement could also delay the planning process and hence produce a plan that accomplishes objectives no longer valid.
Integrating Information Systems Planning and Business Planning • Information system planning should be an integral part of business planning. • Business planning • the process of identifying the firm’s goals, objectives, and priorities and developing action plans for accomplishing those goals and objectives. • Information systems planning • the part of business planning concerned with deploying the firm’s information system resources, including people, hardware, and software. • BP-ISP integration • the alignment of IS strategies with business strategies that can be brought about by coordinating BP and ISP processes. • Alignment is a two way process: • the business determines the IS needs but also IS influences the business. • Integration between business planning (BP) and information systems planning (ISP) is crucial for the information systems (IS) function to more effectively support business strategies.
Taxonomies of BP-ISP Integration • Type 1: Stand Alone Planning • Both a business plan and an IS plan are formulated in complete isolation from each other and no attempt is made to co-ordinate the two except for administrative integration (coordination of schedules, budgets, etc.). • Type 2: Reactive Planning • One-way linked planning with sequential integration: business strategies drive ISP but the interaction is only one way - from BP to ISP. • A business plan is developed (without IS input) and passed down to the IT/IS dept. The IT/IS dept. then develops a systems plan to support the business plan (IS strategy focuses on supporting the business strategy). • Type 3: Linked Planning • Two-way linked planning with reciprocal integration • business strategies may drive ISP as well as be driven by it • business strategy and IS strategy are interdependent. IS strategy supports and influences business strategy. • Type 4: Integrated Planning • Rather than separating ISP from BP and aligning them through linkages, ISP should be integrated within BP • Business and IS planning occur simultaneously and interactively. Business and IS strategy are developed concurrently in the same integrated planning process.
Thus there are two modes of ISP as defined by the extent of BP-ISP integration. • Reactive: • One-way sequential integration (from BP to ISP). ISP following after BP. (Type 2) • Proactive: • Two-way reciprocal integration between BP and ISP. • With proactive orientation of integration, ISP can be used not only to support, but also to influence, business strategies. (Type 3) • Another form of proactive BP-ISP integration is that rather than separating ISP from BP and aligning them through linkages), ISP should be integrated within BP. (Type 4)