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Information Technology Handbook

Print friendly Version date January 8, 2012

The organization should have an IT strategic plan that is integrated with the organization’s strategic plan. The effective management of information technology services should include a strategic planning component to direct IT resources across the organization in line with the business strategy and priorities. This direction should be inclusive of all IT resources, regardless of the departmental structure (centralized or decentralized).

Within the planning effort, the CIO and other CxOs of the organization assume shared responsibility for ensuring that IT resources are expended toward a catalog of services and for projects that provide the maximum benefit to the organization. Strategic planning efforts and discussions also improve key stakeholders’ understanding of IT opportunities and limitations, provide opportunities to assess current performance, identify resource (operation and maintenance, capital, and human resources) requirements, and clarify the level of investment required.

As a goal, IT strategic planning should be a documented, living process, which is considered in business goal setting and results in discernible business value through investments in IT. Risk and value-added considerations should be periodically updated in the IT strategic planning process. Realistic long-range IT plans should be developed and regularly updated to reflect changing technology and business-related developments. Benchmarking against well-understood and reliable industry norms should take place and be integrated with the strategy formulation process. The strategic plan should include how new technology developments can drive the creation of new business capabilities and improve the competitive advantage of the organization.

1.4.1 Technology Direction Planning

Existing and emerging technologies should be analyzed to determine which technological direction is appropriate to realize the IT strategy and the business systems architecture. The planning should include identification of which technologies have the potential to create business opportunities. The planning should address systems architecture, technological direction, migration strategies, and contingency aspects of infrastructure components.

1.4.2 Standards and Quality Practices

Standards, procedures, and practices for key IT processes should be identified and maintained. Industry best practices should be used for reference when improving and tailoring the organization’s quality practices.

1.4.3 Development and Acquisition Standards

Standards for all development and acquisition that follow the life cycle of the ultimate deliverable should be adopted and maintained, and include sign-off by the CIO and Executive Sponsor, or their designees, at key milestones based on agreed-upon sign-off criteria.

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