Brad Francis .info

Strategy, Vision, Alignment

While Vice-President and CIO, Brad established a repeatable, forward-looking strategic technology planning process for the corporation.  The process aligned business and technology leaders on key priorities, addressing critical business needs and long-term capability gaps, and allowed the corporation to optimize available investment funds.

With the need to quickly evolve the business model, multiple organizations had become involved in diverse aspects of the planning process, all focused on the good of the company as they perceived the needs based on their core discipline.  Marketing, finance, sales, and production operations were competing for budget and technical resources, and there was a lack of focus on longer-term business requirements.  Many independent directional decisions were being pursued without a unified perspective of the impact, placing stress on the overall enterprise architecture.

Recognizing the need for a unified plan, Brad met with senior executives of the corporation to obtain their perspectives on the business strategy and the role of technology in executing on that strategy.  During a series of sessions a technology strategy blueprint was introduced, emphasizing the importance of solidifying a joint understanding of business capabilities and needs, and describing the process toward ensuring effective execution of a technology strategy built based on a confirmed business plan. 

With buy-in from the executive team, Brad drove a process involving about forty interviews with senior business leaders across the corporation to gain their insights and ensure their buy-in relative to key elements of the technology strategy and its alignment with the business direction.  Once business needs were clearly understood, technology leaders drove key elements of the planning process, while simultaneously engaging external experts in key areas where either knowledge gaps or acceleration needed to be addressed.  Over a period of several months, core teams focused on one or more of the three primary areas of the plan, specifically demand, supply, and control, periodically releasing drafts of the evolving strategy for business and technical leader feedback.

Even in advance of having an established plan, an immediate benefit of the process was business alignment.  Dollars, priorities, and effort were able to be streamlined and organized, driven much by the dialogue generated through the planning process allowing for the early introduction of new capabilities.  Although technology planning processes were in place, the connection between the business and technology strategy was challenging to navigate.  By recognizing this challenge, creating buy-in toward a solution, and establishing a positive work environment for pursuing change, teams worked diligently toward a common goal of identifying a clear technology direction that aligned solutions with the business strategy.

“This is an accomplishment many CIO organizations never achieve and it becomes a barrier to their success.  Great work!”

Irving Tyler, Vice-President and Executive Partner, Gartner Executive Programs

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