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Can an ITSM Partner Be Your IT Strategic Planner?
If you’re an SMB, in Charlotte or elsewhere, with limited time and resources to conduct IT strategic planning, the answer may be to engage an ITSM organization.
Everybody endorses strategic planning, but few organizations do that planning effectively. According to IT researcher and consultant Gartner, 56 percent of the time spent on strategic planning is wasted. Attention is steered away from planning by operations management and short-term concerns. Planners focus too much on cutting costs and too little on cost optimization.
IT strategic planning is not immune to these problems. It has to align with the overall company strategic plan and, at the same time, according to TechTarget, be “pliable enough to accommodate new business priorities.”
How can an SMB find time and resources for IT strategic planning?
For an SMB, it may not be feasible to divert enough management talent from operating the business to do adequate planning. While there are step by step do it yourself guidelines available, it’s not a trivial matter to do use them effectively, with the confidence that the planners aren’t missing any key factors or critical steps.
Not surprisingly, consultant groups offer to step into the gap. To quote one of them, even if the company has internal resources to dedicate, “strategic planning meetings run by a company executive are usually not very successful.” There’s a danger of groupthink, of avoiding sensitive issues and an unrecognized bias toward doing things the way they’re currently being done.
An ITSM partner as a strategic planner
Going outside the organization for help, however, doesn’t necessarily mean engaging a partner whose specialty is strategic planning. Another possibility is to enlist the services of an IT service management (ITSM) company in the process.
Not every ITSM offers strategic planning. An online survey of five leading Charlotte, NC, ITSM organizations showed that only one of them, William Ives Consulting, lists Charlotte IT strategic planning as one of its offered services. However, if you are partnering with an ITSM that has experience and expertise in this type of plan, that organization has insights into the workings of your company and your IT department that not every strategic planning partner may possess.
What to look for in a strategic planning ITSM
You must have confidence in your IT strategic planning ITSM to deliver on planning as well as they do with their other services. This may be a change in thinking for some SMBs. They’re used to outsourcing data storage, cybersecurity, network support, and backup and recovery to an ITSM, but maybe less willing to consider such a partner for strategic planning. But when you consider the goals of IT strategic planning, an ITSM is, in many ways, uniquely positioned to lead your planning effort.
- Your ITSM understands where you are today. Assessment of the current state is the first step in strategic planning.
- An ITSM is familiar with the key players in your organization, in your technology department and, to some degree in the overall business. They can more effectively get down to the business of planning.
- A good ITSM has developed deep relationships with strategic partners throughout the industry and has insider knowledge of emerging trends.
- The ITSM understands your architecture and how it’s likely to evolve.
- With its intimate knowledge of your operations, the ITSM is positioned to implement the measures needed to carry out and evaluate the effectiveness of a strategic plan.
When the IT strategic plan is done correctly, it becomes a road map for setting investment priorities and drives effective budgeting. It’s a template for decision-making. IT costs for an average SMB can come to over 6 percent of the top line, and most costs are incurred after initial hardware and software purchases. An ITSM IT strategic plan can ensure those costs are well allocated.
If an ITSM has experience in strategic planning and can show they have a repeatable methodology, they may well be worth considering for your next IT strategic planning exercise.