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All Right Stop. Collaborate and Listen - The Recipe for Strategic Planning Success

Ahh, the sage words of Vanilla Ice. The man may have known little about 90s hairstyles and fashion, but he (perhaps unknowingly) nailed it when it comes to advice for the new order of IT organizations. However progressive, proactive, and well-oiled we think we are, I’m going out on a limb and predict that a vast majority of our readers can still relate to struggles with strategic planning in today’s constantly in-motion business world. A recent Forbes article, Prevent Your Strategy Offsite From Being Meaningless, quite succinctly explains and identifies the issues that hinder strategic planning in today’s business climate, particularly where an enterprise model is concerned. Those issues get down to a more fundamental planning challenge – getting everyone on the same page, collaborating, working toward the same goals.

stop_collaborate_112114.jpgLet’s be honest. For the most part that’s not happening. Not because business leaders aren’t doing their jobs, but because teams are working in silos with limited opportunity to collaborate for the company’s greater good. Well, with the visibility enterprise intelligence (EI) provides, that can change. By implementing the right solution to capture EI, businesses can get teams and departments on the same page, working toward the same goals and making progress that benefits the whole.

“Will it Ever Stop? Yo – I don’t Know”- Everything is Connected, Everything is Changing

The biggest problem today is that the decision-making process is not only broken, but it’s confusing. This is, at least in part, due to the fact that enterprises are more connected today than ever. Everyone has access to everyone else, communication happens in the blink of an eye (except when it breaks down), and discrete departments often don’t recognize how their actions can instantaneously impact the enterprise at large.

Where confusion abounds, collaboration is nearly impossible. It’s hard to know who is in charge and what programs should be given priority. At Troux we talk a lot about using EA as leverage to collaboratively plan with the business on how to innovate and grow. It’s the way the business world is evolving. When IT approaches its discipline as a partnership with the business, it results in increased clarity around how everything works together. In a survey of business leaders by Harvard Business Review, a majority viewed IT as a strategic business tool and a healthy 57 percent viewed IT as “an investment that drives innovation and growth.” Furthermore:

[A] survey, sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions, found that business units are mostly or completely responsible for areas such as business process design and optimization, while IT is more likely to be responsible for evaluating, acquiring and deploying new technologies. “As customers become the center, parts of the business that used to operate independently now have to work much more cohesively,” the report’s co-author, Abbie Lundberg, told CIO Journal. – CIO Journal/Wall Street Journal

 

IT has the ability to solve the most basic strategic planning issues in today’s chaotic digital world. As the WSJ article states, “We need to identify what’s distracting and what’s strategic.” Currently, information, expertise and communication lines remain trapped within individual business units, a fact which fuels distraction and allows clarity and collaboration to elude IT and the enterprise. If you can’t establish a reliable big picture, how can you see how each business unit’s initiatives and resources affect each other? How can you know things like whether you’re over-invested, under-invested or at-risk? How can you see how a decision you make will impact everyone else?

In an enterprise environment, business leaders need a new level of transparency and clarity that gives a single line-of-sight spanning the entire business. It sounds complex, but it’s actually the simplest way to bring teams together, inspire confident decisions and keep strategic planning from veering off course.

“Conducted and Formed, This is a Hell of a Concept” – The Future of EA

The idea of corralling enterprise intelligence to build collaboration and drive growth is a topic that is building steam. We recently published a datasheet that spotlights how to ensure that investment decisions are aligned with strategic business priorities and IT strategy. Download the complimentary report from Troux today!