Overview of methodology

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

Purpose

Digital and ICT strategic planning includes the activities undertaken by an agency to align the strategic and tactical technology needs to the business plans and strategic direction. The objective is to identify the digital or ICT direction and investment priorities as well as strengthen effective governance of digital or ICT investment across the agency.

The digital and ICT strategic planning framework provides a structured approach including guidelines for conducting digital and ICT strategic planning engagements. The framework is both tool-agnostic and vendor-agnostic. It draws on a number of useful approaches for conducting planning activities. Practitioners in various related roles including strategic planning, digital and ICT planning, enterprise architects, and investment and portfolio specialists, can apply their existing skillsets to an effective digital and ICT strategy planning process.

The process of digital and ICT strategic planning is one of capturing, mapping, and analysing a chain of relationships from the business strategy, services and processes down to specific digital or ICT initiatives. These relationships should be traceable in both directions and provides not only a justification for specific initiatives, but a confidence those initiatives being undertaken are of the most benefit to the agency.

Digital and ICT strategic planning provides inputs to portfolio management and investment governance processes. It includes the decisions about how and when to allocate resources to accomplish the digital transformation of services or the introduction of new technology, or to change existing technology capability. The planning processes take business strategies and consumer expectations as the starting point for defining new digital or ICT business opportunities.

The purpose of digital and ICT strategic planning can be summarised as follows:

  • Addresses how services can be transformed to support future business needs and consumer expectations; and discovers likely benefits, costs and risks.
  • Creates visions, strategies, roadmaps and plans that link digital investments to business strategies.
  • Draws on knowledge acquired through enterprise architecture, innovation, digital disruption and co-design processes to find digital approaches to business opportunities and problems. It also includes information management and information sharing activities that support effective delivery of services, and the foundation for future service design activities.
  • Provides plans that are critical input to the investment governance process. These investment plans provide decision makers with a forecast view of digital investment opportunities including benefits, cost, risks and the incremental transformation of services with sufficient detail to support strategic and tactical investment planning.

Digital and ICT strategic planning is part of a continuous cycle of policy, planning, implementation, evaluation and improvement and is one of the enabling and supporting functions that drive agency performance and the transformation of services.

Agencies are not mandated to use this framework. What is important is agencies have a structured process for conducting digital and ICT planning and such a process is applied effectively across the agency.

Evolution from ICT to digital strategic planning

The speed and scope of innovation in technology and digital business models is increasingly disrupting established business models across government. Customers, communities and the public are also expecting more from digital government services. Changes in technology and the ever-increasing use of technology are shifting behaviours in and expectations of government services. Agencies must increasingly recognise, prioritise and respond to disruption from emergent technologies. Digital disruption is a catalyst for information and business transformation as well as innovation. Knowing what disruption is occurring and what to do about it represents a significant opportunity for agencies.

Digital and ICT strategic planning has evolved from the traditional ICT resources strategic planning processes already known to government. This framework has been designed to emphasise the transformation of services using current and emerging digital or ICT capability and less on management of ICT assets as this is now a more mature discipline based on the evolution of frameworks such as ITIL. This framework introduces new and more contemporary planning techniques to strengthen the development of digital or ICT strategies or plans, roadmaps, initiative proposals as well as work plans and encompasses some of the techniques previously developed as part of the Queensland Government ICT Resources Strategic Planning Methodology.

The framework recognises changes in the planning ecosystem with a need to include a greater range of business stakeholders in digital and ICT strategic planning processes. This includes the need to better integrate digital and ICT strategic planning functions with other strategic planning and governance functions within and agency.

Benefits of digital and ICT strategic planning

If done well, the digital and ICT strategic planning processes and its outputs can provide the agency with:

  • improved alignment of digital capability to business strategies and needs
  • optimisation of digital resources and capability to achieve business goals
  • a focused work plan for digital service capability across the agency
  • a common view of how agency and government resources can best be used to achieve business goals and agency outputs using digital capability
  • opportunities to promote collaboration on digital and ICT initiatives across the agency
  • measurement of the success of implementing business as well as digital and ICT strategies
  • improved understanding of the impact of digital and ICT on the business of the agency
  • identification of areas for cost reduction, risk reduction and leveraging opportunities in an agency’s digital or ICT portfolio
  • increased visibility of digital investments and initiatives
  • expanded strategic planning capability.

Principles

Digital and ICT strategic planning activities should be conducted in accordance with the following principles:

Collaboration

Adopt a co-design approach by actively engaging consumers, customers, staff, service partners, executive decision makers and providers in planning activities.

Accountability

Establish clear and measurable purpose regarding what the planning engagement should achieve.

Creativity

Use creative and contemporary planning approaches suitable to the culture of the planning agency to encourage innovation and ensure elevated levels of participation.

Transparency

Communicate the intent and approach of the planning engagement to stakeholders and provide transparency through co-design and consultation of planning outcomes.

Customer focused

Align the digital strategic direction to the customer’s business and/or organizational strategic service priorities.

Be agile, flexible and adaptive when engaging with stakeholders.

Demonstrated integrity

Identify and manage risks that could impact on the achievement of strategic objectives as well as those that may impact the success of the planning engagement.

Monitor and measure progress and satisfaction with a focus on continuous improvement through lessons learned and contemporary planning practices.

Integrated

Seek opportunities to integrate digital or ICT planning processes into operational processes and integrate digital strategic planning techniques into the agency’s strategic planning activities, operational planning activities and service specific planning activities.

Applying the framework

The framework can be applied to whatever scale is required, from a whole of agency basis to a single business area or line of service delivery.

Figure 1 - Overview of the framework

Figure 1 provides the base structure of the framework, and includes the following key components:

  • A framework overview which describes the scope and purpose of the framework and roles required to work in and integrated way to the delivery an effective digital and ICT planning engagement within an agency.
  • Workstreams which show the logical planning stages of Initiate, Discover, Vision, Strategy, Priorities and Monitor.
  • Modules which represent logical bodies of work to be completed within a workstream and are underpinned by one or more guidelines. For example, within the ‘Initiate workstream’, there are 2 modules namely ‘Sponsorship, scope and stakeholders’ and ‘Planning team and resources’.
  • Guidelines are found within each module and represent descriptive guidance and include the purpose, roles, information on how to conduct recommended planning activities as well as outputs.
  • Supporting resources are also available including tools, templates, links to methodologies, videos, animations, questionnaires, samples and other resources.

Workstreams

The purpose of each workstream is summarised below

Initiate

The purpose of the planning engagement is established including appropriate organizational sponsorship. Stakeholders and participants in the planning process are identified and analysed and appropriate engagement strategies are defined. The project engagement is planned at an activity, resource and output level using the modules, guidelines and resources from this framework.

Discover

Information about the current state of the planning organization or agency is gathered including the business drivers and strategic direction. A business, information and technology baseline is developed and analysed. Technology and service industry trends and influences are researched within the context of the strategic direction of the agency. Actions and potential strategies resulting from the analysis and research are identified in readiness for the digital and ICT planning activities including workshops.

Vision

A vision is established with stakeholders for where the agency wants to be in relation to its digital capability. Objectives and strategies are identified that will deliver measurable business benefits. Incremental and measurable changes in digital transformation and technology capability are identified.

Strategy

The digital or ICT strategy or plans are developed in collaboration with stakeholders. These documents undergo agency wide consultation before being approved. Gaps in capability are identified in preparation for investment planning and prioritisation.

Priorities

Roadmaps and initiative proposals are developed. These form the basis for the prioritisation of investment and are inputs into the agency’s investment prioritisation processes.

Monitor

The digital transformation of the agency is monitored against the strategies and plans, including the performance of programs and projects in a portfolio of investments. The degree to which benefits are being realised as well as the performance of program and projects are measured in line with best practice methodologies such as Management of Portfolios (MoP)

Audience

The framework will guide practitioners through a logical sequence of activities and analysis that is dependent on the planning purpose and outcomes to be achieved through the planning engagement. It may not be prescriptive or ‘step by step’ in all areas as it is intended to be used by practitioners with existing planning, architecture and investment experience. The framework focuses on purpose, guidance and roles rather than prescriptive instructions on how to perform specific tasks or complete specific templates and tools. Understanding and skill is required to ensure the engagement, planning and analysis undertaken is of an appropriate quality and is relevant.

It is intended the framework be adapted to fit with existing agency processes. The framework is deliberately not detailed in areas where agencies are expected to have processes and procedures in place already (e.g. where PRINCE2 project management processes are already in use).

How to use the framework

The framework is modular and can be adapted to suit several planning scenarios performed by practitioners. It provides guidelines to performing activities in a logical sequence required to develop specific planning outputs in line with the purpose of the planning engagement.

It is not necessary to complete all modules of the framework as part of every planning engagement. The modules of the framework should be selected by the practitioner based on the purpose of the planning engagement and the planning outputs to be produced, identified in the Initiate workstream. Figure 2 highlights some typical planning scenarios to assist practitioners to determine which modules might be relevant to the planning engagement.

Regardless of the planning engagement, all practitioners should complete the Initiate workstream to determine the scope of the planning engagement and, modules and resources required.

Some modules may never be required because those functions may be performed by some other part of the agency and are not part of the digital or ICT planning function (e.g. preparation of initiative proposals may be a portfolio-related function in the agency or may be performed by the business unit sponsoring the investment). It is however still important to understand the points of integration.

Planning scenarios identified through consultation with planning practitioners across the Queensland Government are shown in Figure 2. These scenarios highlight the recommended modules that may be useful to a practitioner when conducting a planning engagement.

Figure 2 - Planning scenarios

The framework can be used as part of annual agency planning cycles however some elements may be used more frequently in response to planning opportunities at a business unit or service level.

Information resulting from initial planning cycles may greatly reduce the amount of work required in subsequent planning cycles, but business objectives and strategies, agency and government drivers, and business services change regularly. Digital capability is also evolving rapidly. It is therefore important during subsequent planning cycles or engagements to ensure the information gathered and used is still relevant, and not assume the information gathered last time is up-to-date.

Relationship with other Queensland Government frameworks

We have gathered a variety of resources to assist practitioners apply the techniques mentioned throughout this framework. Where appropriate, resources include other frameworks, methodologies, techniques, tools, templates and samples sourced from both internal to Queensland Government and external (e.g. third-party practitioners). This provides the flexibility to include additional resources as planning techniques mature and evolve, without the need to update the framework with detailed instructions on how to use specific templates or tools.

Project management

Where the scope of planning to be conducted is large, in terms of outputs, stakeholders and coverage across the agency, it is recommended the planning activities be managed as a project. Practitioners should adopt their agency-specific project management methodologies or adopt the Queensland Government best practice methodology for project management.

ICT workforce planning

The framework encourages integrated planning approaches where appropriate. The Queensland Government ICT workforce planning methodology contains a range of methods and tools to assist ICT and human resource managers to identify key strategies that will help deliver business outcomes now and into the future. Practitioners are encouraged to use this methodology to develop more informed workforce objectives and strategies in line with the agency’s vision, strategies and plans as well as budgetary resources. Consideration of workforce capability aspects, incorporated into strategic planning, including digital and ICT planning, will ensure agencies have the skilled people required to deliver the future service vision.

Where applicable, elements of the ICT workforce planning methodology have been referenced in this framework to promote integrated planning approaches and to ensure workforce capability aspects have been considered as part of digital and ICT strategic planning. Referencing the methodology in this way provides the flexibility to conduct workforce planning as part of an integrated approach or as a stand-alone planning activity. It should be noted where ICT workforce planning is undertaken as a separate planning activity, it should be conducted as close as possible to the strategic planning and/or digital and ICT strategic planning activities of the agency.

Portfolio management

Portfolio management does not have a mandated start point, middle or end point but instead includes two continuous cycles of definition and delivery of the portfolio of initiatives and related investment. The purpose of the portfolio definition cycle is to collate key information that will provide clarity to senior and executive management on the collection of change initiatives which will deliver the greatest contribution to the strategic objectives, subject to consideration of risk/achievability, resource constraints and cost/affordability. The focus is to provide clarity on the high-level scope, schedule, dependencies, risks, costs (and affordability) and benefits of the potential change initiatives. The digital and ICT planning framework complements portfolio management by providing clarity on the strategic objectives of the agency as well as the development of roadmaps and related initiative proposals that can be considered and prioritised against the other competing investment priorities of the agency.

Roles and responsibilities

The number and types of human resources required to successfully conduct a planning engagement will depend on the scope and nature of the planning work to be conducted.

Integrated planning approaches using cross functional teams across the disciplines of strategic planning, digital and ICT strategic planning, workforce planning, enterprise architecture as well as investment and portfolio management are recommended. Some of the roles to be considered when establishing a cross functional planning team, including their contribution to the digital and ICT strategic planning process are outlined in Table 1.

Discipline

Responsibilities

Example

Strategic planning

Responsible for engaging with representatives from the business to determine the overall strategic drivers, vision, objectives, strategies as well as high-level outcomes and benefits.

Assists the business representatives to understand the digital or ICT capability required and how it is used in the transformation of services.

Assists the business representatives to initially prioritise the capability required and helps shape an initial view of the areas in investment required over time.

Develops the overall strategy in collaboration with the business representatives.

Agency and service strategic planners

Digital and ICT strategic planners

Business analysts

Technology or digital capability

Translates the business, digital or ICT capability required into a target state architecture and roadmap.

Enterprise architects

Information management

Helps the business representatives to identify potential information gaps, improvement opportunities and risks.

Works with enterprise architects to develop an information target state architecture and roadmap in line with the digital or ICT roadmap.

Information managers

Strategic information managers

Information security

Assists the business to identify risks to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and information assets.

Information security managers

Security architects

Workforce planning

Helps the business representatives identify potential workforce gaps as well as future roles that might be in demand.

Works with strategic planning specialists to identify future trends in workforce transformation as a result of technology transformation. Identifies the future roles and skills that will be increasingly important to the organisation as well as the strategies required to take advantage of opportunities in the workforce.

Human resource specialists

Workforce planners

ICT investment and portfolio

Works with the business and other streams in the planning team to shape the strategy and required capability into initiatives.

Helps the business refine the benefits and assists them to navigate the governance pathways for funding.

Investment specialists

Benefits specialists

Business analysts

Portfolio specialists

Marketing and communications

Assists the planning team with editorial reviews as well as the professional presentation of planning outputs.

Present the strategy or plan in new and interesting ways that are meaningful to stakeholders.

Marketing and communications specialists including graphic artists and editorial reviewers

Table 3 - Digital and ICT strategic planning roles

Integration with other disciplines

At the point where digital and ICT strategies or plans, roadmaps and initiative proposals are developed, there are several important points of integration across functions including:

Agency strategic and operational planning

This function supports the agency to establish business and service strategic and operational direction and priorities including the business objectives, strategies and key performance indicators in line with the Queensland Government’s Performance Management Framework.

Enterprise architecture

This function supports the policy and strategic direction required to enable services including technology services in specific areas of capability. It converts the service outputs from integrated digital and ICT planning to produce policies, roadmaps and strategies to enable specific business service and digital capability. These policies, roadmaps and strategies inform the planning, procurement and design activities of individual investments.

Portfolio planning, management and performance

This function examines the optimal mix of investments that can be undertaken across a portfolio taking into consideration aspects such as available funding, capacity to deliver, expected benefits, strategic alignment and the risk profile of current and proposed investments.

The collective investment required to deliver and support a portfolio is typically represented in a portfolio plan. This plan also outlines the objectives, expected benefits and risks of the investment portfolio.

The portfolio function also assists with obtaining funding approval to initiate programs and projects based on the business case.

The relationship between the disciplines of strategic planning, digital and ICT planning, enterprise architecture and portfolio management are highlighted in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3 - Integration of strategic planning, enterprise architecture and portfolio functions

All digital and ICT strategic planning should be conducted within the context of the agency’s broader business and service strategic direction including whole-of-Government business, digital and ICT strategic direction. Agency strategic and operational plans establish the overall business and service strategic direction of the organisation, to which any digital and ICT strategic visons, objectives and key performance indicators should be aligned. Digital and ICT strategic planning should be conducted either with, or as close as possible to, the strategic planning processes of the organisation. Agencies that are mature with respect to strategic planning approaches may have already adopted integrated business and digital planning approaches including cross functional planning teams consisting of business and technology related planning roles and capabilities.

The relationship between digital and ICT strategic planning and enterprise architecture becomes evident during the development of the target state architecture and roadmaps based on the digital or ICT strategy or plan. Planning and enterprise architecture practitioners must work iteratively with stakeholders to develop roadmaps to enable the achievement of the digital or ICT vision and objectives.

Planning and enterprise architecture practitioners must also work with investment and portfolio specialists to translate the digital or ICT strategy or plan and roadmaps into specific initiatives.

Digital and ICT strategic planning establishes the context within which portfolio management operates by providing the basis for determining the scope of the digital and ICT portfolio and the basis for the prioritisation of individual initiatives through the development of initiative proposals.

By collectively analysing all the initiative proposals, portfolio management addresses six fundamental questions:

  • Are the programs and projects in our portfolio necessary in the context of our strategic objectives?
  • Is the agency’s portfolio, together with BAU activities, sufficient to meet its strategic objectives?
  • Is the overall level of risk acceptable?
  • Is the portfolio of initiatives achievable?
  • Is the portfolio affordable – and if not, which initiatives should be dropped or re-scheduled?
  • What are the measures against which the performance of the portfolio will ultimately be assessed?

Through selection and prioritisation of initiative proposals, portfolio management seeks to ensure the agency’s change initiatives represent the optimum allocation of limited resources in the context of the agency’s strategic objectives and broader investment portfolio, and this is maintained if conditions change.

Portfolio management also provides information on the contribution current programs and projects are making to the strategic objectives. This can lead to a change in strategy, based on achievement of unplanned benefits or failure to realise planned benefits.


Last Reviewed: 24 October 2018