Map and Compass

Need an Information Roadmap? First Know Where You Are

Throughout my years of working with organizations on their information management and technology initiatives, I have often heard clients and vendors say “Where is the roadmap?” and “We need a roadmap.” My response is always the same:

  • First you must know where you are. What is the current state?
  • Next you must know where you are going. What is the desired future state?
  • Only then can you determine the roadmap, the path from here to there.

Enterprise Architects often call this current state “as-is” and call the future state “to-be”. It is part of their vocabulary because they understand that intentional change must always start with an honest appraisal of where things stand currently. This is not how program staff and stakeholders feel about the current state, but rather a thorough assessment of how things really are compared to business goals and industry best practices for similar organizations.

Defining the future state of your information program starts with the results of the current state assessment to determine specific areas of needed improvement. Some of these deficiencies may have been painfully obvious already, while other sometimes underlying issues may not have been so obvious. Rather than define a perfect future state, the actual goal is to design a realistic future state that fits the business and gives the greatest improvements in the areas that will make the most impact.

This is like how a doctor does a check-up of her patient to determine his current condition. After a series of blood tests and checking blood pressure, body temperature, weight, etc., the results are compared with accepted healthy standards for similar people, which for this patient may be other men of the same age and height. Only then can the doctor determine what the patient’s better future state should be. Finally, she devises a plan for her patient to improve his health to the desired future state and then periodically checks his progress toward these goals.

The doctor does not ignore the patient’s current state and then determine some ideal future state like “Olympic athlete”. Rather, she carefully uses the as-is analysis to determine a realistic and more desirable to-be state and works with the patient toward that. The same is true with your enterprise information programs.

So why and how do you go about determining the “as-is” state of your information governance and management program? Just like with your physical health, the most effective way is often to get some short-term expert help. The right information consultant can perform a maturity assessment, look at your desired future state, and help you determine the right priorities for improvement as part of a custom road map. Training may also be part of this early effort, providing your team with focused new skills and tools to reach your goals.

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Need help kickstarting your information governance improvements? Holly Group has developed a remarkably effective starter kit to launch your program down the right path. It’s our Current State QuickScan Analysis. This consulting solution leverages Holly Group’s exclusive MaxTV® methodology to gauge your organization’s current state of information governance maturity and helps define and validate what your future state should be. It takes the guesswork out of getting started with the right information management improvement and effective information governance. You can call us the InfoGov Doctors™!

Get started with our Current State QuickScan Analysis »

About the author: Kevin Parker

Kevin Parker is an award-winning IT executive, consultant, and keynote speaker who is a recognized expert in enterprise information strategy, architecture, governance, and management. A former CIO, he is well known for his ability to help clients evaluate and digitally transform their organizations through smarter and safer use of current – and future – technology.