Strategic Planning

True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success.

Strategic Planning is a process to ensure that Information Systems are positioned to support your organisation’s corporate objectives through the alignment of business objectives to initiatives and projects.

Strategy is about decision making and choices. There are many Strategic Frameworks that can be used. Selecting the right one is the challenge.

The Plan is how to get there, which includes the initiatives, projects etc.


Strategy is a simple statement that applies to all the actions outlined in the plan.

For example:

  • Leading edge IT
  • Cheapest product on the market
  • Quickest product to market
  • Transactional excellence

Strategies need to be costed. They need to be implementable via the Strategic Plan.

They need to align with the Business – otherwise they may not add value.


Ensuring that there is a strong foundation to implement the Strategic Plan.

This includes:

  • Mission
  • Governance
  • People and Skills
  • Policy and Procedures
  • IT Systems
  • Data
  • Project & Change Management
  • etc.

current and future state

Understanding the current state is important as it provides an assessment on how successful the Strategy and Strategic Plan will be.

The assessment normally leads to a Gap Analysis between the current and future/desired state. These gaps would need to be addressed as part of the Strategic Plan.

Initiatives and Projects

The Strategic Plan needs to include actions to deliver the Strategy. Typically these are:

  • Foundation Projects  – Projects to position the business to deliver the Strategy
  • Initiatives – Programs of work, normally containing one or more projects
  • Projects – actions to achieve a specific outcomeImmediate Consideration – actions that need to be done now e.g. security, capacity
  • Tasks – simple actions or quick wins

Some aspects of the Strategic Plan

There are many ways to develop a Strategic Plan. Below are some of the more important elements .

initiatives and projects

The initiatives and projects that are recommended to be implemented.

Normally contains the following high-level information

  • Scope
  • Benefits
  • Risks and Assumptions
  • Actions
  • Costs
  • Alignment to Business Planning

benefits and alignment

The Strategic Plan is designed to deliver benefits to your organisation.

A big mistake organisations make is not measuring and managing benefits. It will not be clear if the Strategic Plan is actually working?

Good Governance will enable the Plan to change if benefits are not being delivered, the business changes direction or there are other priorities.


The Road Map in conjunction with the Ranking provides an organisation with a clear implementation pathway.

The Roadmap also need to consider other aspects including:

  • Resources
  • Organisation-wide priorities
  • Change Management
  • Goals
  • Benefits
  • Risks
  • etc.
ranking, prioritisation and scheduling

Equal Bytes has a method which comprises eight benefits and four costs criteria to rank initiatives and projects against each other.

This helps to determine where to direct investment for the greatest return.

It is used to assist an organisation to prioritise (what should we be working on now) and schedule (do we have the resources to do it now).

Initiative and Project Ranking