Develop an Information Systems Management Strategy

Every business small or large must have a clear plan or strategy to manage their information systems where it be a specific software application or an entire infrastructure system that addresses well-defined objectives and will add value, either directly to the bottom line or toward the achievement of the organization's goals and objectives. Good management of information systems can quickly defined using a term borrowed from the military. “SMEAC” is a five-paragraph order used by the Military to provide the framework to communicating the following key elements that can be easily translated to your business and the management of your information systems.

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  1. Situation – provide the condition of your information systems, whether it be good or bad. You need to have a general understanding of what you currently have as a baseline to make an effective decision about we need to change.
  2. Mission – What is it that the organisation seeks to achieve whether it be a general or specific goal. This objective/s is what has been assigned to the organisation or the individual and does not change. It’s our focus to keep the objective on track.
  3. Execution – The how of our plan or strategy. The smaller and more defined the steps, the easier it is to understand how the strategy will be implemented and more importantly how it can be managed and measured. These steps will be our critical milestones broken down to provide all those parties involved with the purpose and detail to ensure that the objective/s are achieved
  4. Administration or Logistics – Every plan will need resources whether it be human or capital to ensure that the right people are dedicated to the plan with the right resources to make the plan work. It delivers information on how resources will be allocated during the different milestones on the plan execution. It also provides a vital link to who you ask for help as each resource is aware of their and other resource responsibilities and can assist others where required.
  5. Command – Every strategy needs somebody to take ownership and ensure decisions/responses are effectively communicated to all key stakeholders and resources to make the strategy work. Not only will this define who will report to whom but how that report is presented and at what intervals (how regularly).

These five elements broken down clearly and logically provide a very simple layout for delivering complex strategies. It easily understandable to a diverse group people with varying levels of training and ability.

How does the RBC Group align itself with these practices?

Our focus is very much aligned to your business and gaining a situational understanding of not only the technical components that make your information systems work but the operational outcomes that your information systems provide your business and staff on a daily basis. When technical resources whether it be computing, application or associated services do not meet your operational outcomes, the business will suffer in either one or all of the following areas:

  • Service (effective and efficient),
  • Profit (or cost-avoidance), and
  • Social (moral, ethical and legal) responsibility.

A structured approach to manage of your information systems will ensure we have a deep understanding of the situational requirements and have planned for benefits as we gain insight to better align strategies and identify critical relationships and gaps along four key organisational dimensions – people, process, culture and infrastructure.

The Mission or goal can now be set! The RBC group’s focus on a managed information system provides the framework for companies to define a specific objective that with the developed understanding has as its inherent aim “to maximize the value and impact of information as a strategic corporate asset to gain competitive advantage”.

The following are a few of the mission objective examples the RBC Group have set and achieved with our clients as part of their managed information system service delivery:

1. To reduce operating costs in recording keeping and retrieval.

Recordkeeping requires administrative dollars for filing equipment, space in offices, and staffing to maintain an organized filing system (or to search for lost records when there is no organized system). It costs considerably less per square metre of records to store inactive records electronically versus in the office. There is an opportunity to affect some cost savings in space and equipment, and an opportunity to utilize staff more productively - just by implementing a Document Management System. 

2. To ensure regulatory compliance

In terms of recordkeeping requirements, every business is becoming more accountable whether by association or by law to meet compliance standards. These standards or laws can create major compliance problems and the only way an organization can be reasonably sure that it is in full compliance with laws and regulations is by operating a good management information system, which takes responsibility for regulatory compliance. Failure to comply with laws and regulations could result in severe fines, penalties or other legal consequences.

3. To support better management decision-making

In today's ever-changing business environment, the organisation that has the relevant data first often wins, either by making the decision ahead of the competition, or by making a better, more informed decision. By having a managed information system, the RBC Group can help ensure that business like yours have the information you need when you need it. There are numerous areas that we can focus on but the outcome is the same, giving the right people the ability to obtain and assemble pertinent information quickly for current decisions and future business planning purposes. 

The execution of a strategy is critical. There is no point in having a great strategy that is poorly implemented. Understanding and detailing the framework for a specific objective/s provides the basis for the RBC Group and its partners to developed understanding about the management of your information systems and what preparation and planning to ensure we to maximize the value and impact of the change to gain the desired outcome. In this process, the RBC Group will map out the key milestones and what will be required to achieve so that all involved parties are aware of their tasks, responsibilities and associated timeframes to complete.

The advantage of dealing with the RBC Group is that the teams we have assembled in our forty (40) years of operation are experienced operators in their field of expertise and more importantly in the practicalities of delivering projects to small business or medium enterprises.  Karl Moore wrote it best in his online contribution to Forbes, “Strategy without Execution is Hallucination”. He went on to explain that the academic world is spending 90% of the time detailing the theory of Strategy while at best 10% is spent on execution. The exact opposite is what we deal with daily, 10% on the strategy and 90% on executing our strategy. As a client of the RBC Group, you will appreciate the level of planning and preparation we invest to ensure the execution of your plan is well structured and clearly defined.

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Every plan needs to be effectively administered and part of our Managed Information System service is how we deal with the logistics of making things work. A sustainable operational environment requires detailed thought for not the first day of operational use by the business but ongoing use over the next five years. There are hundreds of clients that we have provided continued managed service support for over twenty years. We have achieved this because our approach has been consistent and well measured.

We have already covered the points that we have developed a detailed analysis of your current environment in our situational assessment and agreed to a mission objective. The execution plan us now on-board and operational and part of overall management focus to your information system is how we:

  • Ongoing monitoring and maintenance to keep your business optimized;
  • Protect what has been achieved whether it be to secure it or ensure its compliance and integrity; and
  • Optimise so any variables or critical issues are identified, reported on and resolved quickly.

There are a many businesses that struggle to gain control or have effective command of their information systems. The desired outcome for business is that they want to feel that they have ownership and responsibility for how their managed information system operate and the productivity outcomes they deliver. There isn’t a need to understand how it works or what it takes to make work but importantly the knowledge that it does work. The end state is simple, we planned for this and we achieved this! IT works.

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