Tool 14: Internal Information sources.
By Anniek Braham
To support the development of an E-strategy a high level view of the current internal information needs to be developed. First a top-down documentation analysis will be carried out, to develop an understanding of the current business strategy, the business and technology environments and the status of IS/IT. This will result in a summary which is to be used, validated and extended in the next stage, the determining of the IS demand. This will be done through workshops with all levels of management and end users utilizing 7 tools. This will result in a document containing a management summary view of the IS demand.
Step 1: Analyzing internal information sources.
In the first stage the analysis is best served by utilizing a small team led by an external consultant. The main task of the team is to understand, summarize and contextualize the gathered information into a coherent and concise body of work. The role of the consultant is to prevent context tunneling and prevent implicit information not getting recorded. To facilitate analysis direct access to internal documents, systems and people is essential.
An overview of the elements that are to be researched:
•Critical success factors
A business strategy overview:
•Delineating the current strategy and any emergent new elements since the previous strategy cycle.
(involved in executing the E-Strategy)
IS architecture for the business
•Depicts the processes, activities and main information elements and their relations.
•Consists of the business model and supporting IS models.
•Values, style, culture
•If the IS function has its own particular culture, values and methods of working developing a second organizational model for the IS function itself may be worthwhile.
•A figure depicting the relationship between the researched elements can be found here.
•From these activities the information, systems and technology needs arising from the business strategy and the current activities of the business can be assessed and prioritized.
•While the process is analytical and logical it will most certainly generate a number of original and creative ideas. These need to be captured and developed.
Step 2: Determining the IS demand
In this second stage discussion with management and employees is essential, increasing the number of people needed involved in the process. Organize workshop sessions where the following techniques are utilized:
•Areas of business where things must go right
•Business objectives and key information requirements
•Options for long term IS investment to strengthen competitive position
•Identification of core business processes
•Process improvement options
•Process (re)design blueprints
•Resultant IS/IT options
Technical business modelling
Current application portfolio
•Profile of current applications
•Coverage and contribution to business
IT technology infrastructure
•Inventory of current hardware and software.
•Assessment of IS organization, procedures, methods
•Analysis/test of skills of employees per department
The results from this process should give a concise, clear view of:
•The current use of IS/IT.
•The available skills and their contribution to the business mission.
•The current resources, strategy, objectives and processes.
•Mission, objectives, culture and values of the business.
The results of the analysis and workshops need to be summarized into the desired high-level view document which can be used as an input to E-Strategizing or reporting to top level management. In order to create a concise and clear overview the size of the document need to be pre-determined (f.e. to a size of 10 pages).