Building an IT Strategy Roadmap

Corporate America Spends Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars On IT Projects Each Year, And A Great Many Of These Project Will Fail. When Artech first saw this report put out by the Standish Group in the mid 90’s and then again in 2000's, we were surprised to see that the success rate of it projects had only reached about 26%. To address this unfortunate report card, early on in the development of our methodologies we made sure to concentrate on the common pitfalls of IT projects, and maintain a focus on customer satisfaction. By doing this we have been able to boast on success. Every IT project undertaken by Artech is a reference.

The following article outlines an "Applications and Data Roadmap" initiative called an Information Technology Strategy.

Principals of Business Driven IT

We believe all organizations large enough to maintain an IT staff should complete an IT Strategic Plan, and update it every few years. Our core belief for information technology stems from two basic principles:

  • Your business processes and needs drive your infrastructure

  • Your infrastructure processes and needs drive your technology

Too often organizations allow the development of IT simply for the sake of technology. Unless your business is a software company, IT is there to support and enable your business, not constrain it.

The Applications, Data and Technology Roadmap - A Case Study Synopsis

Over the past few years Artech has completed enterprise IT Strategic Plans for several companies including a large fresh produce company, an eye care corporation, and an e-commerce company. We would like to reference these three very different companies with unique needs, to illustrate why Artech is prepared to assist you with your business IT Strategy, also while outlining some of our unique attributes and methods.

Large Fresh Produce Company (Produce Company)

Artech had established a relationship with the produce company years earlier by successfully implementing their Order Processing and Inventory system. Artech partnered with the produce company to develop an IT Strategic Plan. The plan outline an applications and data roadmap, which would help the produce company pursue better logistics, product repackaging, and address distributed technology challenges.

The produce company is a fortune 500 company with several international departments supporting their IT needs around the world. Previous projects had allowed artech to demonstrate the firm’s ability to deliver, using facilitation skills, group-workshop meetings, as well as unique methods of real-time information gathering. The produce company and Artech decided the best use of time and resources would be to bring technology and business managers from around the world to their headquarters in Florida and have Artech organize and facilitate a three-week conference.

These meetings began the creation of a common General Ledger for the company, with systems integration and real-time global information access. Over the following weeks the team outlined recommendations and delivered the IT Strategy. Projects based on the IT Strategy allow the technology to support business processes such as: order processing, inventory tracking, claims management, grower accounting and liquidations, data warehousing and product code classification and integration.

Eye Care Corporation (Optical Company)

The optical company is a national retail company with over 130 stores nationwide. Founded in 1972, the company has successfully positioned itself as a provider of quality eye-wear and optometry services. This success is largely due to their philosophy of providing high quality vision care at affordable prices. The optical company's regular retail prices are 30% to 50% less than most retail optical companies for identical products and service.

The optical company was able to compete very effectively on price, because they streamline product processes with a central lab that produces all of the eye-wear. This allowed retail stores to maintain a lower on-hand inventory. As the optical company grew, the system's infrastructure and application needs followed. The optical company was outgrowing several of their current systems and unfortunately implementing many departmental manual processes to support the business. Corporate access to information and the ability to make decisions based on current and accurate information was difficult. The company realized their was a strong need to formalize their approach to technology.

The optical company partnered with Artech to discuss and analyze the current status and future needs for their systems infrastructure. This study was conducted over an eight-week period at the optical companies headquarters. The objectives were to identify and document the state of the technical architecture, applications and data, and to plan for a standard approach and methodology for future systems. Following IT Strategy, the optical company was able to: immediately identify steps to reduce operations costs by over 2.5 million, identify and design the communications infrastructure for order processing and tracking, outline specifications for three separate projects each having a return-on-investment of less than one year.

E-Commerce Company (E-Commerce Company)

The E-Commerce company was established in 1999 and, at the time, maintained the largest on-line product database on the internet. The company facilitated the E-Commerce process through the use of bar-codes. Users are able to shop and find information using SKU, UPC and other barcode number formats. The E-Commerce company maintained approximately eighty million products.

The E-Commerce company partner with Artech in developing an enterprise IT Strategy. Unlike other established corporation, the E-Commerce company was a dot-com just starting out. They had no current systems to review or measure. The IT Strategy was based purely on business need and anticipated use of their systems. The objectives were to identify the goals and business drivers of the e-commerce company and outline the needed technical architecture and applications roadmap for providing structure and direction to its initiatives. Artech completed the IT Strategy over a six-week period, and continued its partnership with the E-Commerce company completing over ten projects. From the IT Strategy, Artech outlined a roadmap which guided the development of a transactional internet site capable of accessing detail information and price comparison options for over 100 million products, and scaleable to accept millions of visitors each day. The Internet application performed site searches, account information, secure logins, shopping cart, checkout, order receipt, barcode reading, reports, and B2B partners (other sellers using the portal to sell their items).

These corporations partnered with Artech to develop their information technology strategy and you could too. Please contact us for more information.