Plan ahead, Justify investments with a good IT Systems Roadmap.
What is an IT Systems Roadmap?
An IT Systems Roadmap is a plan for one or more IT systems within an organization.
It accomplishes three things:
Assesses gaps in the current system(s) and their impacts
Recommends a future-state with improvements
Specifies an implementation plan and budget
Benefits of building a good roadmap
Roadmaps are a powerful tool for planning and communication.
Some of the most common uses are:
To get a quick sense of size and scale of IT changes needed to support business changes that are on the horizon
To communicate how current projects fit into a larger strategic picture
To plan annual or multi-year budgets
To build a business case that justifies one or more projects
To rationalize an IT systems portfolio to reduce costs
Guidelines for building an effective Roadmap
Pitfalls to avoid
Roadmaps are a powerful technique, but they sometimes fail to deliver on their intended value.
There are usually three main reasons why this can happpen:
The roadmap doesn't set realistic expectations
There isn't enough buy-in and support generated to move it forward
Poor execution and maintenance of the plan
These pitfalls can be avoided by careful planning and structuring of the roadmap exercise. How the roadmap is conducted can be as important as what it delivers.
Here are the top 6 general practices we recommend when building a roadmap:
Keep the scope as focused as possible, avoid examining too many systems in one go
Establish ownership and accountibilities for the roadmap upfront
Leverage a cross-functional core team, with the right people to prepare and champion the roadmap
Be realistic and detailed when estimating timelines, costs and resources
Use pictures to keep things simple and concise. The roadmap must be easy to explain, and easy to understand
Keep feasibility of execution in mind from day one. Remember roadmaps often fail in the execution stage
What to include in a roadmap
At the minimum, we recommend that a roadmap should include 10 things:
Current State Context - pictures that depict how existing systems map to business processes or functions
Drivers for change - Current and future gaps - both strategic and tactical, and their business impacts
Requirements - prioritized by value and urgency
Comparison of feasible solution options, and a recommendation for a preferred option
Future State Context – pictures that depicts the changes and what the future landscape should look like
Expected Benefits - tangible and intangible
Implementation Plan (scope, phases, timelines, milestones, resources, governance)
Risks and obstacles that can be expected, and suggestions on how to mitigate them
Estimates of time, effort, and costs involved to implement the solution
Plan to promote, manage and update the roadmap going forward
Can we give you a hand with building your Roadmap?
InQvis Consulting provides strategic planning and analysis services for organizations across North America.
Our team of senior business and technology architects have over 20 years of experience delivering various IT systems roadmaps - from single system replacement roadmaps to complex IT systems transformations with over 30 systems.