IT Strategic Planning through CSF Approach in Modern Organizations

IT Strategic Planning through CSF Approach in Modern Organizations

Neeta Baporikar (HP-GSB, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1680-4.ch001
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Abstract

Although the purpose of strategic planning is straightforward - to outline where an organization wants to go and how it's going to get there - its nature is complex and dynamic. The, critical success factor (CSF) method, can augment strategic planning efforts by illuminating an organization's present situation and potential future. This chapter explores the value of enhancing typical strategic planning techniques with the CSF method and presents an integrated framework for helping modern organizations to understand the broad range of interrelated elements that influence strategy development for Information Technology (IT). The chapter synthesizes documented theory and research in strategic planning and CSFs. It also provides insights and lessons re the pros and cons of integrated strategic planning framework in the context of IT in modern organizations. Through in-depth literature review and contextual analysis, the chapter incorporates suggestions to modern organizations for IT Strategic Planning with CSF Approach for a holistic and effective strategic planning process.
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Background

Industry executives and analysts often mistakenly talk about strategy as if it were a chess game, but in a game there are just two opponents, each with identical resources, and with luck playing a minimal role. But the real world business and competition is different and certainly it is not a chess game – it is more than that. According to Moschella, D (1999), the real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them. This paper explores the value of enhancing typical strategic planning with the critical success factor (CSF) method. It synthesizes documented theory and research in strategic planning, CSFs and proposes an information framework for enhanced strategic planning. The paper does not advocate or articulate a specific strategic planning approach, though theories are discussed and pointers to published methods are provided. Nor does the paper aim to document the CSF as a method; these are published elsewhere. (Caralli 2004; van der Heijden 1996)

CSF can augment strategic planning efforts by more deeply illuminating an organization’s present situation and potential future. Critical success factors represent key performance areas that are essential for an organization to accomplish its mission. In addition, CSFs provide processes that help an organization establish strong ways of thinking, communicating, and making decisions. While future scenario and CSF methods have extensive histories with operational and strategic planning, neither method, on its own, constitutes a strategic planning effort, results in a strategy or strategic plan per se, or even has a direct, explicit interface with strategic planning. However, when used together within a strategic planning process, they noticeably enhance the process and the resulting strategic plan. According to a study by Esteves (2004), the critical success factors (CSF) approach has been established and popularized over the last 30 years by a number of researchers, particularly Rockart (1979). Today, the approach is increasingly used by consultants and IS departments as a means of support to IS strategic planning (Esteves, 2004). Ramaprasad and Williams (1998) underline this position by stating that “there is a great deal of attention devoted to the concept in the IS literature as many argue that the use of CSF can have a major impact on the design, development, and implementation of IS”.

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