word "strategy" was derived from Stratēgos - an ancient
Greek word referring to a 'military commander'. For many centuries the word was primarily used in a
A strategy is a longer-term plan, aimed at
achieving a specific objective. The implementation of that strategy will
involve tactics (detailed plans), and resources (people, materials,
tools and weapons). It takes
into account all of the environmental factors, and aims to deliver the
most effective and successful outcome, given all the circumstances.
In a military context, the great
strategist Sun Tzu (pictured left) would take many
factors into account including the weather, supply lines, health
of the men, availability of weapons, escape routes, placement,
and so on. Even in ancient times, few battles were won by
marching troops to the enemy's front line and engaging them
head-on. Some situations called for siege, some for feints and
others for pincer movements, depending on what the circumstances
Strategic Planning Applies to ICT
If the key role of Information Communication and
Technology (ICT) is to provide the host organisation with the tools to
achieve its business objectives, there is little need for a separate
strategic plan for ICT.
Nothing could be further from the
truth. Just as military battles may employ strategic maneuvers
to achieve their objectives, so too ICT has to examine all the
options, so that it is possible to select the most effective way
of achieving the desired result. Should
outsourcing be considered? Are there appropriate new technologies
available? What are other similar organisations doing?
What level of funding is available? How urgently is change
needed? There are many such questions to be considered before
embarking on a campaign. Strategic planning is about choosing the best
combination, to achieve the required objective, in light of the current
What Does A Strategic Plan Look Like?
Strategic Plan documents range from a single
page to several hundred pages. So what should be included, and how big
should it be?
Every organisation has its own preferences,
but our approach is to keep it simple and keep it short. The strategic plan should be a separate, but integrated
component of the overall ICT business plan. This document will
describe the strategies and demonstrate how these ICT strategies support the
business objectives, and any other plans, strategies,
regulations or laws with which it has to comply.