planning systems pays

Any organization with a turnover of one million can save hundreds of thousands if it insists actively using this information analysis and planning process.

Following it provides a business model which presents activities and data in a coherent fashion, independently from current organization and traditional disciplines.

The benefits can be achieved regardless of acceptance or rejection of specific systems and projects.

There must be high-level commitment to the process in order to get the potential benefits; otherwise making an Information Plan is just an exercise in writing glossy reports: intellectually challenging, logical-looking, and rarely later referred to.

Such commitment also saves time and money in another area: commissioning and profiting from studies to understand and re-design the business to survive and capitalise on events.

The business model process described here is not just another tree in the jungle of neat ways to present business analysis results. It promotes using a single way to navigate among all the studies, to resist spending time seeking ‘still nicer’ methodologies, and to keep the terminology fixed for a reasonable time period — in other words it helps management create a stable climate supportive of realising planned goals.

Since this process applies to all parts of the business, not just to information, it can help prevent consultants’ initiatives to (re)study the entire business for each new management initiative to improve a specific business aspect, e.g. QM initiatives, Environment Protection planning, reorganisation studies, etc.

People should not fear the process: it results in maps which help find the way, not route instructions. Maps don’t make decisions; people do.

There is real potential here for making money.

why information planning process is needed

Any organization, commercial or otherwise, needs a comprehensive information planning process to consolidate IT productivity gains and take advantage of new opportunities without gaps and overlaps. Information Planning is an organised attempt to see which of the countless changing IT thrusts can help the business, and which ones are affordable. It aims to identify that IT with potential value and to avoid glitter which has no effect on performance.

intent

The intent of Information Planning is to position an organization continuously so that its requirements, technology, and culture/organisation evolve and progress in balance without unpleasant surprises. Information Planning gives stake-holders a way to review findings from interviews and mappings, agree on the activities, and plan how to:

  1.  exploit strong points:
    • use them to improve the way they do business
    • use them to improve the business they do, and
  2. correct current weakness:
    • such as wasting people by not using and rewarding their skills and initiative or by not giving them the right tools and environment
    • or such as not being automated to the highest degree which is operationally, financially and operationally feasible.

feasibility is a hat trick

Information Planning helps brainstorm and identify potential hat-trick systems. Two out of three is not good enough. The only systems that actually work are feasible in all three ways:

  1. Technically feasible – technically possible to build and operate the system.
  2. Financially feasible – financially possible to pay for developing and operating the system, and the return on investment is acceptable.
  3. Operationally feasible – the people involved will use the systems when it is made available.

not that unlike golf clubs

Just like not having golf clubs means you can’t play golf (unless you are Lee Trevino), not having a a committed-to information plan means you can’t win with IT. Having a plan is like getting the golf clubs. It means maybe you can succeed. Understanding and following a planning process gives you the best chance at winning.

fits like a glove

Integrating your information pintegrating business plan and information planlanning with your business planning gives you the most benefit.

This planning process is how you achieve that.

It lets you see how to:

  • use IT where it is advantageous and nowhere else
  • avoid unnecessary duplication
  • get the business priorities right

Business-model-based planning costs less management and staff time to make and
understand plans and the resulting clarity contributes to systems integration.

systems integration is no ingrate

Systems integration offers so many benefits that it is a shame to miss any of them. Here are a few:

  • minimal overlap and duplication
  • potential benefits achieved sooner
  • reduced development/maintenance costs
  • single license cost
  • economy of scale
  • sharing of information
  • reduced training effort
  • improved communication

process, IT is a process

While a well completed plan (which is if truth be told not all that hard to make) provides you with:

  • an assessment of the situation today concerning business requirements plus Information and IT resource organization.
  • a statement in measurable terms of goals for the next three years, and assessment of what can realistically be achieved and
  • a costed, agreed plan for progressing from the present situation to the stated goals…

it is the planning, implementation and operation process which enables assessing, approving and implementing the plan. This process, which may become the subject of another hack here on Only (the) Tech Changes, begins with and depends on explicit and accepted by-name assignments for these responsibilities:

  • the planners who will provide the input to the plan. They have to be people in the organization, not outsiders who can help as catalysts and co-ordinators.
  • the plan reviewers, also people in the organization, who will review the plan and act to emend and finally to endorse its contents.
  • the specific line managers responsible for final approval, funding, and execution.
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