Defining strategies enables to the practitioner to work with the participants in planning workshops to collectively determine and agree on what is required to achieve the digital and ICT strategic objectives.
Strategies are the actions that need to be taken to achieve the objectives and ultimately realise the vision. Strategies are important because they stipulate what will be undertaken by the agency to achieve the strategic objectives. Strategies also begin to frame the nature of future strategic initiatives and related investment.
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
- Business analysts
- Information managers.
The practices in this guideline should be conducted in collaboration with the stakeholders identified in the Initiate workstream and can be incorporated into other stakeholder planning workshops.
Strategies should be aligned to the objectives and benefits already identified as part of the previous digital or ICT planning activities identified in the Vision workstream. For example, the business changes identified in the benefits dependency network or investment logic map will assist the practitioner and participants in the planning workshops to identify the strategies.
Where the method of directly aligning the digital or ICT objectives to the business objectives has been used, it is relatively easy to continue the process of direct alignment and align or map the underpinning digital or ICT strategies to the digital or ICT objectives.
Where the concept of planning horizons has been used, the strategies also need to be structured around the planning horizons and the digital or ICT objectives across those planning horizons (e.g. 1 year, 3 years, 5 years).
Depending on the context on the related objective it may also be necessary to consider strategies across several themes. In some cases, themes may form focus areas or pillars for the strategy. Examples of some strategic themes are provided in Table 1 below.
Example 1 – Business related themes
Example 2 – Technology related themes
Digital or ICT foundations
Digital or ICT optimisation
Digital or ICT transformation
Table 1 - Example themes
Themes can be an effective way of ensuring the strategies have been defined across a number of areas and considerations such as governance, business changes and workforce capability have been considered.
In relation to each strategy, consider if it will be universal and be explicit about who may be impacted. For example, the strategy may only relate to a segment of customer, a regional or specific sites or business areas.
When developing strategies, consider strategies that:
- increase the secure provision or sharing of information and how people access information.
- address barriers or reduce the exposure to risk or take advantage of opportunities.
- enhance the collaboration between staff, partners, the community and industry etc.
- enhance services or better support services.
- modify existing policies or introduce new policies.
- modify systems or implement new capability including new or changing technology services.
- change the way investment in ICT is managed and governed.
- plan for, acquire or grow new workforce skills and capabilities including:
- improving attraction and recruitment
- improving labour supply
- increasing investment in development
- improving employment agility
- improving participation, retention and culture
- improving workforce planning governance and capability.
Strategies should be reviewed as part of the workshop to determine their appropriateness and alignment to business, digital or ICT objectives. This review should include:
- Consistency with the overall vision and objectives.
- Level of fit with the resources and opportunities available.
- Anticipated resistance and barriers and how they can be minimised, these will be discussed further in the guideline relating to risks.
- Are they complete or are there gaps and strategies that have not yet been identified?
- Are there any strategies that conflict with other strategies?
Depending on the nature of the strategy or plan being developed it may necessary to separate those strategies that are strategic in nature from those that are operational.
A strategic document is about setting a future direction for the organisation, devising objectives and identifying a range of strategies so the organisation might achieve its objectives. A strategic document is therefore much higher level, more strategic in nature and may span longer time periods than operational strategies. Strategic documents focus on the ‘what’ and ‘why’.
A strategic document should subsequently be translated into operational actions and activities through the agency’s operational planning process. An operational plan provides more detailed information and strategies required to run the agency. These plans may be more exact and provide greater detail about the ‘how’, ‘who’ and ‘when’.
Practitioners should consider which strategies defined in the workshop are more operational in nature and obtain agreement from participants to carry those strategies across to the operational planning cycle. This will ensure the digital or ICT strategy or plan is not weighed down by strategies that are largely operational in nature.
The methods outlined in this guideline are iterative. It might take several workshops with several diverse groups of stakeholders to articulate the final digital or ICT strategies.
It is important to ‘play back’ the outputs of workshops to participants within a short timeframe from the workshop. This will maintain interest and ensure the participants feel like their time to participate was worthwhile.
Once the digital or ICT strategies have been defined, consideration needs to be given to any strategic risks as well as the strategies required to mitigate those risks.