Reactions to the current uncertainties and impacts by companies and their directions to IT have been varied, and, for the most part, have been to put a hold on projects or go slow with expenditures. While there may be additional cost cutting directives, there comes a point where the reality is that a new strategic plan has to be developed for IT. Things have changed and it’s not clear when there will be positive developments but IT needs to look ahead.
At this point, IT should begin planning a strategy that starts two quarters from now. Two quarters is time for gaining more knowledge and observing further developments that will hopefully bring some clarity. It is also the amount of time to work through the strategic development process and vetting of a strategy that can move IT forward in meeting company needs after the on hold/go slow “hunker down” directive has eased.
Normally, strategic plans in IT cover a three to five year span and are updated yearly with new inputs such as business changes or technology developments. Think of these updates as course corrections if you will. The current plans in place have been subverted to a great extent by the current worldwide pandemic and subsequent economic problems. Now, a new strategic plan cognizant of changes needs to be developed. Undertaking this exercise with so many variables and unknowns may seem impossible, but besides being necessary, it will bring focus on actions to be taken that will benefit the company. Just asking the questions, looking at alternatives, and developing contingencies will bring understanding. Heightened concern for minimizing risks and controlling expenses will influence much of the decision making.
But why now? It seems we do know more and can understand the different alternatives that may play out. Putting a plan in place that includes the directions based on those alternatives (contingencies from a planning standpoint) makes the tasks ahead much clearer and, with the target of two quarters out, sets a timeline for actions to be taken. It is certainly easier to be in the “work from home” cocoon saying we don’t know and wait for something to happen but that is an “inaction plan” that will hurt the business. Planning now is the proactive process to move ahead.
So, get started. Take the initiative with a new strategic plan with the assumption that a reset has occurred, necessitating a process with accommodation of many variables. It will be more challenging. The challenge is an opportunity to move forward and take initiative.