Preparing for That IT Strategic Planning Project: A Data-Driven Approach

Presenters

  • Jerrold Grochow, CIO-in-Residence, Internet2
  • Sara Jeanes, Program Manager, Internet2

Underlying Ideas for this Seminar

  • Data: facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.
  • If you can’t define it, you don’t know what your data says
  • If you don’t analyze it, you don’t know what your data means
  • If you don’t organize and present your analysis, you can’t convince anyone of what it means
  • Data is most valuable when it can be turned into information that can be used for action

Goals

  • Understand what data is important to different constituencies
  • Learn practical approaches to collecting, organizing and presenting that data
  • Start to apply this framework to your own strategic planning projects

What is Strategic Planning all About?

  • Determining where we are now (org assessment)
  • Determining what drives us to the future (drivers & trends)
  • Determining where we want to be in the future (ID strategic issues)
  • Determining how we’re going to to get to that future (develop strategic business plan)
  • “If you don’t know where you want go go, any road will get you there.”
  • “If you don’t know where you are, it’s tough to figure out how to get to where you want to be.”
  • Being aware of external drivers that influence our organization
  • In short: where/what/how, now and in the future

What Makes Data Important?

  • Things that get measured get managed
  • Can be used to look for trends
  • Helps democratize the process by removing emotions
  • Value to the institution
  • Allows for effective SWOT exercise
  • Sets the stage
  • Raises a strategic issus
  • Highlights a trend
  • Distinguishes a constituency
  • Presents a resource concern

Different Types of Strategic Planning Projects

  • Initial plan
  • Revisited plan: why? what changed?
  • Plan update
  • Organizational focus: resources, culture
  • Service focus
  • Technology focus

Strategic Planning Data Planning Framework

  1. Determine type of project and focus
  2. Determine key questions/issues
  3. Assess & define data
  4. Collect data
  5. Perform analysis
  6. Organize & present

Types of Data Needed

  • Skills assessment: what do we need?
  • Who is using our resources, and how?
  • Retention and recruitment: who is leaving and why? What’s their demographic? What are the demographics of the various departments?
  • What’s the data we’ve already got? Staff counts, project portfolio, budgets, etc.

Two Principal Types of Data

  • Primary: data you collect specifically to serve the needs of the strategic planning activity
  • Secondary: data you have (or can get) that was collected for other purposes but that will be useful
  • You are going to have to use data you already have
  • Internal secondary data: operational data, i.e. logs, usage data, help desk ticketing system, admissions data, anything in IR, IPEDS, infrastructure, monitoring, etc.

Operational Data: Service Utilization

  • Definition: how much of a particular service is used by different groups of users
  • Measure: what best shows usage
  • Analysis: trends/patterns
  • Organization/presentation: table, chart, interactive graphic

External Secondary Data

  • What data can you readily get that would be useful?
  • EDUCAUSE Core Data Service, NSSE, IPEDS, census, industry surveys (Gartner, Forrester, McKinsey)

Internal/External can be both primary and secondary

  • Internal: about the organization
  • External: about the environment

How do you collect data?

  • Instrument your systems, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups
  • Sensors

What Kind of Data?

  • Text, numbers, pictures
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • USE BOTH, to show impact and value

Timing: When Do You Collect Data?

  • Before: to help ID and frame issues, and to ensure the planning process can proceed smoothly.
  • During: as discussion uncovers additional data that would be useful
  • After: to better manage your organization and monitor progress against plan
  • Always: for the reasons mentioned above

How Can We Best Present Data?

In ways that best resonate with the audience, in ways that show importance. For example: “That’s the equivalent of a the cost of a full-time grad assistant” or “IT capital plan == building capital plan” or “system maintenance == building maintenance”

  • Text: quotations, narrative, video
  • Numbers: tables, charts, graphs
  • Pictures: infographics, photos

Institutional Strategic Priorities

  • Understand research and learning/teaching focus areas! This will tell you where senior leadership of the institution wants to go.
  • Understand the financial areas! This will interact with research and learning/teaching focus areas.
  • Understand the technology focus! You’ll be able to explain how this will interact with all the other areas.