Digital or ICT strategy or plan

Final | October 2018 | v1.0.0 | OFFICIAL-Public | QGCIO

Purpose

This guideline examines the structure and provides examples of distinct types of digital or ICT strategies or plans. The nature of the strategy or plan created will be dependent on the planning objectives to be achieved. There are however some recommended or common elements that should be incorporated into most strategy or plan documents. These elements are discussed in this guideline.

The Queensland Government Performance Management Framework makes the distinction between strategic plans and operational plans. In simple terms, strategic documents incorporate the ‘why’ and ‘what’, particularly when digital or ICT strategies have been included whilst operational plans include greater detail regarding the ‘how’, ‘who’ and ‘when’. Strategic plans have a much broader planning horizon, typically around four to five years however strategic plans can be reviewed and refreshed during the planning horizon. In contract, operational plans have a much shorter timeframe and are typically refreshed annually as part of the operational planning cycle.

Audience

A practitioner in the context of this guideline can include one or more of the following roles:

  • Digital and ICT strategic planners
  • Agency and service strategic planners
  • Workforce planners
  • Enterprise architects
  • Information managers
  • Marketing and communications specialists.

Strategic documents

The common types of digital or ICT strategies or plans are summarised Figure 1 below:

  • Digital vision plan or strategy
  • ICT strategy
  • Domain strategy.

The purpose of these documents is summarised in figure 1 below.

Figure 1 - Hierarchy of business, digital or ICT related strategies or plans

Each of these documents provides a richer strategy or plan for the enablement of services using technology, as the consumer or audience of these documents moves down through the strategic layers from a digital vision through to domain strategies.

These documents may also vary in length. For example, an agency with a comprehensive digital vision may represent the ICT strategy as a simple strategy on a page.

The contents of a strategic document will depend on the planning objectives to be achieved that were identified in the Initiate workstream of the planning activity. A summary or outline of the proposed content to be included in the strategic document should be discussed and confirmed with the sponsor, prior to developing the required strategic document.

There is no single template or recommended approach for these types of documents, however there are elements to a strategy or plan that should be considered. These elements are described in more detail in the following sections.

The practitioner should also confirm the pathway for approving strategic documents including lead times and details of any executive forums or committees that will be required to review the strategic document prior to approval. It may be necessary to adjust the communications plan and consultation timeframes to accommodate the required approval activities.

Digital vision strategy or plan

A digital vision strategy or plan conveys the transformation of services or how supporting new business models using technology will enable the strategic direction of the organisation or enable the organisation to take advantage of strategic opportunities. This strategic document has a whole of organisation view, and may even take into consideration industry or market place perspectives. It helps organisations to see the opportunity and/or risk that is in front of it and helps shape the overall business strategic direction of the organisation.

The development of a digital vision strategy or plan, may involve much broader representation from both internal and external stakeholders and is typically sponsored by a business representative. The purpose and core elements of a digital vision strategy or plan are summarised in table 1 below.

Core element

Definition

Vision statement

A vision statement anchors the content of digital vision document and explains the need for investment in digital capability. The vision statement should provide guidance and inspiration and provide a focus for what is import to customers and the agency.

A vision statement should:

  • Show how digital enablement will help the customer and what value it will provide.
  • Show the benefit to the agency in terms of efficiencies, quality of services, access to services or benefits to staff.
  • Link the future business and digital vision
  • Be simple and memorable (one or two sentences)
  • Be inspirational

Service delivery vision

This section describes the transformation of services and may include several perspectives such as the public, customers, staff, service partners or industry. It should provide a narrative for how people will access or use services, technology and information in the future in response to changing service models or new opportunities that the agency will take advantage of.

Service trends

This section describes the major trends or disruptors that are shaping or influencing the future models of service delivery. This section should highlight the need for changes and reinforce the service vision based on research and industry trends either locally, nationally or worldwide.

Technology trends

This section describes the major technology trends or digital disruptors that are shaping or influencing the future of digital service delivery. This section should highlight the current or emerging technology capability available that is reshaping the way services are delivered.

Strategic alignment

This section of the strategy or plan conveys how the digital vision aligns to the broader business vision or strategic direction of the organisation.

Issues and challenges

This section outlines the current business challenges and issues that are providing the driver for change including how the impact of those issues and challenges is likely to be addressed or reduced because of service transformation using technology. This section should establish clearly why a change is needed. Often an infographic is used as a straightforward way of conveying the issues and challenges demonstrating impact in terms of numbers of people or customers affected, costs, number of staff impacted, lost revenue, types of services impacted. It might also demonstrate how other agencies or other jurisdictions have benefited from adopting similar approaches.

Principles

This section includes the digital or ICT principles identified as part of the visioning workshops. The principles may guide behaviour with respect to using digital technology, guide decision making with respect to investing in digital technology or guide the design of digital systems.

Objectives

This section includes the objectives identified in the visioning activities and convey specific and measurable changes that will occur over the lifespan of the planning document. These objectives can be customer and/or service related, process related, information related, workforce related or technology related. This section may convey the key success factors that are required to fulfill the vision

Strategies or focus areas

This section includes the specific strategies that will enable the transformation of services. This section may include details of the capability that will be enabled. It describes the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’ the ‘who’ and the ‘when’.

This may include:

  • Online presence for accessing services
  • Digital marketing
  • Customer interaction
  • Security of Online and Internet facing systems
  • Supplier interaction
  • Mobile based solutions
  • Cloud computing

Enablers

This section describes the major business changes, technology trends and capability that are required to underpin digital service delivery. This section should reinforce the emerging capability required to transform the way business services are delivered including workforce capability changes.

Business outcomes and benefits

This section includes the desired business outcomes for customers, staff, service partners and government. Where possible, key performance indicators should also be included.

Table 1 – Elements of a digital vision strategy or plan

The strategy or plan should be completed by a team of people with experience in understanding the needs of the customers, knowledge and understanding of the business and its services, knowledge of digital channels and solutions, knowledge of supporting ICT infrastructure as well as design, marketing and communications expertise. This will ensure an adequate blend of technical, business and marketing expertise required to produce a meaningful and consumable digital strategic document.

The development of a digital vision strategy or plan is iterative and my need to undergo several rounds of consultation with stakeholders.

It may also be necessary to prepare a presentation highlighting key elements or important points to be conveyed in the strategy or plan to ensure all stakeholders have a collective understanding of the content without the need to read the document in detail whilst it is undergoing development.

ICT strategy or plan

The ICT strategy or plan includes areas of strategic technology capability and how the implementation of various technology capabilities will enable the business and/or digital vision. It defines the ICT plan of action designed to achieve the ICT related aims of the ICT organisational unit/s in support the business direction of the agency.

An ICT strategic plan is usually developed by an ICT organisational unit and sponsored by the Chief Information Officer or Executive in charge of that organisational unit. This contrasts with a digital vision strategy or plan, which may involve much broader representation from both internal and external stakeholders and is sponsored by a business representative.

The purpose and core elements of an ICT strategy are summarised in table 2 below.

Core element

Definition

Vision statement

The vision statement conveys how the ICT organisation is going to support the business and digital aspirations of the agency.

A vision statement should:

  • Show how investment in technology capability will help the agency deliver better services and what value it will provide to the agency.
  • Show the benefit to the agency in terms of efficiencies, quality of services, access to services or benefits to staff.
  • Link the future business and/or digital vision to the vision of the ICT organisation
  • Be simple and memorable (one or two sentences)
  • Be inspirational

Service delivery vision

This section confirms the transformation of business services and may include several perspectives such as staff, information managers, technology service partners, vendors, start-ups and innovators. It should provide a narrative for how future technology services will be delivered or enabled to underpin the service and digital service aspirations of the agency.

Strategic alignment

This section of the strategy or plan conveys how the ICT strategic direction aligns to the broader business or digital strategic direction of the organisation.

Issues and challenges

This section outlines the current ICT challenges and issues that are providing the driver for change or inhibiting the agency’s ability to take advantage of opportunities, or respond to the new emerging technologies. This section should establish clearly why new investment in technology capability is required or why the way in which technology services are delivered, needs to change.

Principles

This section includes the digital or ICT principles. The principles may guide behaviour with respect to using and managing technology and information, guide decision making with respect to investing in technology capability or guide the design of systems and practices.

Objectives

This section includes the objectives identified in the visioning activities and convey specific and measurable changes that will occur over the lifespan of the planning document. These objectives can be ICT service related, information related, workforce related or technology related. This section may convey the key success factors that are required to fulfil the vision.

Strategies or focus areas

This section includes the specific strategies that will be required to improve the overall technology and information management capability of the organisation. It can also include strategies for changing how the technology and information services of the organisation will be managed in future. It may also address how the organisation intends to plan for, acquire or grow new ICT skills in response to a changing technology or information environment.

Technology enablers

This section describes the major technology trends and capability that are required to underpin digital service delivery. This section should reinforce the current or emerging technology capability required to reshape the way business services are delivered. These technologies should include the foundational technologies and capability required to support an evolving and expanding network and systems platform. It should also include those technologies or capabilities currently in use, that will be further leveraged, optimised or enhanced to deliver broader business value. Finally, this section should include details of new or emerging technologies that will be required to transform the services of the organisation.

Business outcomes and benefits

This section includes the desired business outcomes Where possible, key performance indicators should also be included.

Table 2 – Elements of an ICT strategic plan

The strategy or plan should be completed by a team of people with experience in understanding the business and its services, knowledge of technology solutions and supporting ICT infrastructure as well as design, marketing and communications expertise. This will ensure the ICT strategy or plan is relevant to the business customers of the ICT organisation.

The development of an ICT strategy or plan is iterative and my need to undergo several rounds of consultation with stakeholders.

Domain strategy

A domain strategy or plan conveys how supporting new business models using technology will enable the strategic direction of the organisation or enable the organisation to take advantage of strategic opportunities in a particular area of business, information or technology service. The purpose and core elements of a domain strategy are summarised in table 3 below.

Core element

Definition

Scope and purpose

This section should define the domain to which the strategy relates and as well as the purpose of the strategy. It may be necessary to include a problem statement to convey the current state and describe the scope of the problem or opportunity in terms of the impact to:

  • People (customers and staff)
  • Services
  • Processes
  • Information
  • Systems or technology services
  • Underpinning ICT infrastructure or services.

Vision

This section should describe the transformation of one or more business, information or technology service domains and may include several perspectives such as business representatives or customers, staff, technology service partners, vendors, start-ups and innovators.

Issues and challenges

This section should outline the current ICT challenges and issues that are providing the driver for change or inhibiting the agency’s ability to take advantage of opportunities. This section should establish clearly why new investment in the domain is required.

Principles

The principles may guide behaviour with respect to using technology or information, guide decision making with respect to investing in a domain or guide the design of information, digital systems and/or technology infrastructure in a domain.

Strategic alignment

This section of the should convey how the ICT strategic direction outlined in the domain strategy aligns to the broader business, digital or ICT strategic direction of the organisation.

Objectives

This section should include the objectives identified in the visioning activities or reinforce objectives derived from a digital vision strategy or plan or ICT Strategy. It should convey specific and measurable changes that will occur in a domain over the lifespan of the document. These objectives can be ICT service related, process related, information related, workforce related or technology related.

Strategies

This section includes the specific strategies that will be required to improve the overall capability of the organisation in a domain. It may also address how the organisation intends to plan for, acquire or grow new ICT skills in response to a changing information or technology environment.

Business outcomes and benefits

This section includes the desired business outcomes for customers, staff and technology service partners. Where possible, key performance indicators should also be included.

Table 3 - Elements of a domain strategy or plan

A domain strategy should be completed by a team of people with experience in understanding the needs of the customers, knowledge and understanding of the business and its services, knowledge of digital channels and solutions, knowledge of supporting ICT infrastructure, domain subject matter expertise as well as design, marketing and communications expertise. This will ensure an adequate blend of technical, business and marketing expertise required to produce a meaningful and consumable strategy or plan.

The development of a domain strategy is iterative and my need to undergo several rounds of consultation with stakeholders.

Next steps

Strategies or plans that are well presented and appeal to broad range of consumers and audiences are typically more broadly accepted and adopted. It is therefore recommended practitioners seek the assistance of marketing and communications specialists within the agency to conduct an editorial review and assist with the overall presentation of strategic documents.

The strategic document will need to be endorsed by the planning sponsor. For agency wide strategies or plan, it may be necessary to seek approval from the executive officers of the agency including the Director General or equivalent. Where a public launch of the strategic document is proposed, Ministerial approval may also be required.

Almost all digital or ICT related strategic documents should include some form of roadmap based on a target architecture. While the strategic document may remain relatively static for periods of time, roadmaps may change in response to investment decisions, availability of resources, the performance of initiatives and the impact of these changes on the current and future digital or ICT work plan.

Resources

Resource

Link

Digital strategic plan

Queensland Government DIGITAL1ST

Digital WA

Digital Health Strategic Vision for Queensland 2026

Queensland Transport Digital Strategic Plan

ICT strategic plan

Sample 1 - ICT strategic plan

Sample 2 - ICT strategic plan

Sample 3 - ICT strategic plan


Last Reviewed: 24 October 2018