Delivering an ICT plan
How does ICT link to other plans?
An ICT plan is just one part of the overall mix of plans that are under way at any time in any organisation, and your decisions about ICT must help to underpin other plans. Here are some ideas about where ICT may fit:
ICT could help with: management information, financial information, competitor analysis, operational efficiency, cost effectiveness, service delivery, logistics, service development, internal communications, external communications, performance review, stakeholder relations.
Staff development plan
ICT could help with: assessing current skills, accessing training, e-learning, continual professional development, monitoring and appraisal.
ICT could help with: identifying sources of funds, collaborating on bids, submitting bids, monitoring and managing funds, managing donors.
Plans for individual projects
ICT could help with: project management, budgeting, delivering project outcomes, feedback and review, monitoring and reporting.
What to include in an ICT plan
The following offers a template which can be adapted according your needs and preferences:
- Who is responsible for ICT planning and who else is involved in decision-making?
- The current overall goals and direction of your organisation
- A summary of your current use of ICT
- Key issues to be addressed
- Goals for the use of ICT in next three years
- Identify each specific ICT initiative you will undertake:
- A brief outline of this initiative (one-paragraph version)
- Objective for this initiative, for example:
- “It will save us time by …”
- “It will save us money by …”
- “It will improve the quality of our service by …”
- What you think you need:
- hardware, software, network, cables, etc
- money, time, people.
- Known training and support issues
- Likely suppliers and/or procurement process
- Proposed budget and timescale for this initiative
- Summary of all initiatives
- Summary budget and timescale for all initiatives
- Risks associated with this plan and what you can do about them
- Overall schedule, next steps and roles for carrying out this plan
- Links between this plan and other plans
Getting help with ICT planning
Someone from outside your organisation could be a big help in preparing your plan. New input at any stage may shift your horizons, provide an extra pair of hands and introduce new ideas. Or you may want to bring in expert insight or pay for help to speed things up.
They could help identify possible technical solutions, provide ballpark figures or talk to people who have successfully addressed similar problems. You may also find it helpful for them to facilitate discussions and help resolve problems about conflicting priorities, as they could be seen as more neutral.
Delivering an ICT plan
A detailed ICT plan may take a lot of time and effort to produce but can still be difficult to actually implement. There will be decision making delays, budgeting cycles and time needed to select suppliers, by which time the plan may have grown in size or lost its focus.
The big secret is to keep it simple.
At every stage produce an overview of what you’re trying to achieve and help people stay in touch without wading through technical details. If they understand the direction the plan is taking they are more likely to support it, explain it to others and provide vital feedback as it is implemented.
Be sensible about timescales and remember the main purpose of any ICT plan is to agree a timetable for getting things done. If it is not yet clear what your team’s ICT training needs are, your plan should show how you’re going to tackle this issue in the future, rather than being delayed while you conduct a needs analysis process that could take months.
Remember these key points:
- You don’t need to be an ICT expert to write an ICT plan.
- Planning helps you to work out where you want your organisation to be, before deciding what technology you need to get there.
- Focus on key goals and benefits for your clients or community and identify ICT solutions that deliver those benefits.
- Get help when you need it and make sure staff and volunteers provide their input at regular intervals.
- Keep it simple.
Advice and support
- Funding and finance
- Coping with cuts
- Addressing needs
- Managing change
- Planning for the future
- Involving people
- Public Service Delivery
- Governance and leadership
- Compact Advocacy programme
- Campaigning and influencing policy
- Collaborative working
- ICT (information and communication technology)
- Climate change
- People, HR and employment