Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The disaffection of information technology managers with IT strategy development and planning goes back a long way. The research that identifies this dissatisfaction is examined briefly. The technology strategy and planning problem is shown to be multi-faceted, with several possible causes that may be operating simultaneously in a particular company. A major ingredient of the problem is the alignment/linkage of IT planning and plans, and the business plans. For IT planners to achieve the desired linkage requires that the planners possess a deep understanding of their company's business planning. Similarly, business managers must possess solid knowledge of their company's IT planning. Using Kiviat Diagrams, business planning approaches are shown to be bewildering in their variety. This variety indicates that IT planning managers must find it difficult to decipher business planning in general and the nature of their company's business planning in particular. Nine approaches to plan alignment and linkage are explored, each with respect to its possible value for linking IT planning and plans to business planning and plans. The development of a Theory of Plan Linkages is proposed. Several sources of the problem are suggested, and several IT management approaches to IT planning are explored briefly. It is unlikely that any single set of IT planning activities can deal satisfactorily with the problem for most companies. Efforts are proposed for developing best practices for IT planning. Steps are proposed for use by IT planners to improve their company's IT strategy development processes. Areas that merit further academic research are explored.