To deploy SISP into any firm and make it successful we need to use a methodology. A good approach is the model by Wilkin and Cerpa (2012), which is based on an iterative SISP approach first developed by Segars et al (1998). This SISP methodology is supported as being relevant in real-world implementations as given in studies from Corbitt et al (2008) and Kandjani (2014). The literature seems to suggest that the Wilkin-Cerpa-Segars model or Information Systems Planning (ISP), which defines a SISP implementation, is the most effective method to align IS with the Business (Corbitt et al, 2008; Kandjani, 2014).
The main elements of the ISP to deploy SISP are the following:
Phase 1: Alignment – IS and the business strategy are integrated to facilitate IT/IS development and systems build, which supports the competitive requirements of the organization;
Phase 2: Analysis – The organization’s internal operations (e.g. procedures, processes, and technologies) in both IT and the Business are properly understood to ensure that IT supports the general organisational business-flows;
Phase 3: Cooperation – Key SISP stakeholder’s cooperatively support IS strategy and SISP, decreasing potential conflict and set up governance policies to resolve conflicts;
Phase 4: Improvement – IS/IT capabilities in planning and implementation (e.g. by learning, feedback, formal and informal communication processes) are expanded and deepened;
Phase 5: Contribution –IT’s contribution to the Business is assessed using telemetry and concrete metrics (e.g. speed to market, availability, security, profitability from new products, cost decrease etc).
(Adapted from Segars and Grover, 1999)
Firms should use the above phases but importantly these phases are not linear but iterative. For example, phase 1 and phase 2 would likely be done concomitantly, with phases 4 and 5 can also be conducted in parallel if not even earlier, given that measuring IT performance is a key governance and organisational objective.
To ensure success from the ISP model in 1.1, Table 1 presents methods of ISP implementation, including Key Success Factors which we can find at many firms.
Table 1: SISP implementation
|http://goldenbeeltd.com/?page_id=3404 ISP Phase||buy a heart lyrics Implementation Key Success Factor||http://yodiamondteam.com/?p=123 Why and How|
|Alignment||1. Clear business strategy which is understood
2. IT reporting to the CEO not the CFO
3. CTO to help CIO control IT and establish a strong ‘core’ along with decentralised operations (to allow innovation)
|-Pre-requisite when planning the alignment of IT with the Business, CIO should report to the CEO, and there should be a strong CTO to manage IT details and operations|
|Analysis||4. Competent and committed management, both in IT and outside
5. Planning regularity
|-Competent management must be in place to both manage IT Operations and help with the alignment planning and setting up of governance structures and innovation plans
-Business owners should be embedded within IT processes to align IT to the business requirements
|Cooperation||6. End user involvement in mapping IS to the business
7. Cultural openness across functions (and cultural barriers to change)
|-Competent IT management will hire/contract skilled staff to aid in alignment planning and processes
-Business personnel will be involved early, in the SISP process
-Culture, especially one that is open, innovative and based on merit is vital for innovative firms and can be accomplished through cross-functional teams, incentives and having employees understand the SISP
|Improvement||8. Planning effectiveness (methodology, relevancy)
9. Technical resources, knowledge and skills
10. Project Management skills
|-SISP must be a regular, transparent, process
-IT projects must demonstrate success and value
-Project Management is a key area where many IT projects fail
|Contribution||11. Budget, Financial resources, Proper ROI management
|-IT should be responsible for not only costs, but revenue increase and could be either a profit centre, or a hybrid structure|
|Learning||Iterative||Iterative, cycle back to phase 1 during next planning cycle|
(Brown, 2010; Wilkin & Cerpa, 2012).
Note that the above for any firms should be an on-going process. For the ISP phases in 1.1 to succeed, there has to be an iterative implementation approach, especially since a SISP approach will change the organisation (into cross functional teams); and the culture (no silos, open, innovative) (Read, 2017). Section 2 discusses these challenges.
As given in section 1, SISP implementation will change IT from being a silo and cost centre, into being part of the business. This will challenge existing ‘empires’ within a firm, and force the Business to use IT as an asset, and not view IT as simply a cost item. SISP also demands extremely competent C suite management and very good IT operations management. Tables 2 and 3 present cultural and organisational issues, and their attendant governance implications; which were and still are in some cases present, within many firms as they attempt to deploy a SISP.
Table 2: Cultural issues when implementing a SISP
|Business does not understand IT||Business views IT as slow, legacy-ridden, operationally incompetent||Many firms do not pay off ‘legacy IT debt’ and refuse to upgrade, improve or maintain key systems|
|IT does not understand the Business||IT is not a part of the business process and does not understand how IT should support the business||IT was a silo, a cost centre and viewed as an expense item|
|IT culture is insular, operationally focused||Divorced from the business, IT views non-IT processes as unimportant||IT was focused on maintaining the systems at the lower possible cost, not aiding competitive advantage|
|Culture does not reward innovation||Seniority, tenure are more important that performance or innovation||Static, negative culture|
|Business Culture is not open||Business empires did not cooperate with IT or other business silos||Empire building was more important than business results|
Table 3: Organisational issues when implementing a SISP
|CIO must be skilled and competent||Former CIOs had little power or skills||CIO must report to CEO and have real power over budget and resources|
|CEO must support the CIO||CEOs did not view IT as important||C suite conflict will ensure that SISP will fail|
|Financing IT innovation – who should be responsible, accountable||IT was a cost centre and deemed a necessary evil||Within SISP, IT must be viewed as an asset|
|CTO or a strong centre is needed to push through SISP changes||Operational excellence and control did not exist||Implementing SISP is difficult if the centre is weak|
|IT Operations must now deliver to the business and view the business as a ‘client’||IT ops was a silo affair and did not report to the business||IT should be viewed as an enabler of business excellence|
|Cross functional teams need to be set up||Silos prevented cross functional engagement||Breaking down cultural silo barriers is a longer-term endeavour|
|Business must be embedded within IT projects||Projects were silo affairs||Business owners need to ensure that IT delivers business requirements and value|
|Organisational transparency is a threat||No transparency on IT effectiveness or project performance||Openness needs to be rewarded and recognized|
|Fear of Job loss, or redundancy due to transparency, improved efficiency||Open systems and processes were not supported||Deadwood needs to be removed to have a functioning SISP|
(Above compiled from: De Haes, Van Grembergen, 2009; Boonstra, 2013, Kappos & Rivard, 2008)
The above cultural and organisational challenges are real and potent. One reason why SISP should be a longer-term, iterative venture, is that breaking down these barriers and establishing an open, innovative culture, along with proper governance and organisational processes, takes time, money and managerial skill. In reality, there are many conflicts intra-organisation and between roles, personalities and stakeholder interests which will need to be reconciled or ended, including the use of fiat directives from the CIO (Read, 2017).
Section 2 outlined some potent challenges when implementing SISP within firms. To overcome these challenges, SISP becomes a longer-term iterative process. To break down these barriers in culture, organisation and governance, the following key principles can be followed:
- Formalisation: Written structures, procedures, policies and techniques in SISP planning.
- Focus: Proper balance between control and innovation and the use of finite resources.
- Flow: Both a top-down (leadership) and a bottoms-up (buy in from users and stakeholders) flow needs to be enacted.
- Participation: Depth and cross-functional breadth of input across the organisation.
- Consistency: Frequency of planning and meetings (Segars et al 1998, Wilkin and Cerpa, 2012).
The above governance principles will embed IT into the Business planning process, and will be based on proving IT’s value to the business. Metrics and KPI’s are a part of the above process and would include:
- -System availability being 99.99% or better
- -System mapping to the business processes and responsiveness
- -Applications which are mapped to the business process and fitness for business usage
- -Security – data protection and other legal-compliance standards being met
- -Time to market with improved application features
- -Disaster Recovery implemented (currently there isn’t a DR plan)
(Read CIO Interviews, 2016-17)
Table 4 summarises the key principles and metrics by issue-area, of culture, organisational and governance.
Table 4: Breaking down obstacles to SISP
|Implementation within the ISP approach||Implemented||Key Principle being followed|
|IT reports to CEO||Implemented||Flow|
|Competent IT management||New CIO, CTO and new hires in IT operations||Focus, Flow|
|Clear business strategy understood by IT||IT is now driving strategy||Comprehensiveness, Formalisation|
|End user involvement with IT products and systems build||IT has cross functional teams aligning processes and plans||Flow, Participation|
|Cultural openness in IT and the general business to innovation||New culture is one of agility, transparency, skills||Flow, Participation|
|IT Planning regularity with the business||Implemented, monthly, quarterly, yearly||Frequency|
|Planning effectiveness||On-going, including setting up governance structures||Frequency, Flow, Focus|
|Technical resources are competent, trusted||Proving value to the business is increasing trust||Comprehensiveness|
|IT can demonstrate to the business owners its value||Demonstrations, Proof of Concepts now a part of IT planning and implementation||Flow, Comprehensiveness|
|Budget, Financial resources||IT is a profit centre and must contain costs while helping to increase revenues its budget is thus not viewed only as an expense but as a value to the business||Comprehensiveness, Formalisation, Frequency|
|Metrics||IT is being assessed by the business for utility and externally audited for reliability||Formalisation, Focus|
(Lederer, A.L., Sethi, V. 1996; Wilkin, C. L. & Cerpa, N. 2012; Bechor et al 2010, Read 2017)
Table 3 presents a high-level summary of how to break down cultural-organisational and governance barriers. Within a SISP process IT is reorganised. In the case of many firms IT is moving over time to become a profit centre, metrics are implemented to assure its efficacy, and planning processes are now combined with the business processes. Governance and communication boards are cross-functional and the business is beginning to view IT as a service, not a cost item.
The purpose of this note was to discuss the SISP methodology employed by many firms and how barriers to SISP implementation can be overcome. Overcoming cultural, organisational and governance challenges is a long-term effort and requires constant attention and iteration. It will take many years to achieve the open, innovative culture that these firms desire. ==END
Bechor, T., S. Neumann, M. Zviran, & C. Glezer, (2010) ‘A Contingency Model for Estimating Success of Strategic Information Systems Planning’, Information & Management, 47 (1) pp.17-29
Boonstra, A., (2013) ‘How Do Top Managers Support Strategic Information System Projects and Why Do They Sometimes Withhold This Support?’, International Journal of Project Management, 31 (4) pp.498-512
Brown, I., (2010) ‘Strategic Information Systems Planning: Comparing Espoused Beliefs with Practice’, ECIS 2010 Proceedings, Paper 140, Available at: http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1107&context=ecis2010, (accessed: 18/08/15)
Corbitt, B, Pita, Z. Cheong F. (2008). Approaches and Methodologies for Strategic Information Systems Planning: An Empirical Study in Australia. ACIS 2008 Proceedings. RMIT University Melbourne, Australia. Available at: http://aisel.aisnet.org/acis2008/1 (accessed: 17-12-17)
De Haes, S., & W. Van Grembergen, (2009) ‘An Exploratory Study into IT Governance Implementations and Its Impact on Business/IT Alignment’, Information Systems Management, 26(2) pp.123-137
Kanaracus, C., (2013, Dec. 10) ‘The Worst IT Project Disasters of 2013’, CIO.com, Available at: http://www.cio.com/article/744455/The_Worst_IT_Project_Disasters_of_2013?page=2&taxonomyId=3174, (accessed: 27/02/14)
Kandjani, H. et al (2014). Classification and Comparison of Strategic Information Systems Planning Methodologies: A Conceptual Framework. International Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, 10(1), 1-10, January-March 2014.
Kappos, A., & S. Rivard, (2008) ‘A Three-Perspective Model of Culture, Information Systems, and Their Development and Use’, MIS Quarterly, 32 (3) pp.601-634
Lederer, A.L., Sethi, V. (1996). Key prescriptions for strategic information systems planning. Journal of Management Information Systems, 13(1), 35-62.
Mahoney, J. (2014). IT Organisational Design. Gartner Group. Available at: https://www.gartner.com/doc/2693819/it-organizational-design-key-initiative (accessed: 30-12-17)
Segars, A., Grover, V. (1999). Profiles of Strategic Information Systems Planning. Information Systems Research. 10: pp 199-232.
Segars, A.H., Grover,V. ,Teng, J.T.C. (1998). Strategic information systems planning: Planning system dimensions, internal coalignment, and implications for planning effectiveness. Decisions Sciences, 29(2), 303-345
Wilkin, C. L. & Cerpa, N. (2012). Strategic information systems planning: An empirical evaluation of its dimensions. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation 7(2), 52-61