5 Long-Term Planning Hacks

Just as the future gets harder to predict, IT and tax leaders are being relied on to predict and plan.

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Modern Wisdom from Ancient Greece

A recent post about long-term planning in Oracle’s Profit Magazine begins with Greek philosopher Heraclitus’s observation that “the only constant is change.” The article, which features insights from Vertex Chief Technology Officer Jen Kurtz, also demonstrates the wisdom of a quote attributed to President Eisenhower:

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”

Key Players in Predicting and Planning

While the article focuses on the long-term planning chief information officers (CIOs) and other IT leaders should conduct these days, the guidance also applies to tax executives. Author, Minda Zetlin, reports that “IT leaders are being relied on to predict and plan for the future just when the future is getting harder to predict” while also being tasked with keeping the IT lights on (e.g., ensuring that systems are maintained and updated and information security is robust). Jen confirms that those are the current job requirements for CIOs and chief technology officers (CTOs): “It’s not for the faint of heart,” she adds.

5 Long-Term Planning Hacks

Zetlin shares practical long-term planning strategies and tactics that she’s gleaned from Jen and other IT leaders cited in the article. These hacks include:

  1. Accepting the fact that future business conditions are unpredictable;
  2. Keeping close tabs on all your stakeholders and their changing needs;
  3. Spending time with peers, customers and experts outside of your organization to gain exposure to fresh insights and new perspectives;
  4. Enlisting customers and end-users to help you shape the products and services you develop for them; and
  5. Experimenting, learning from the experiment’s outcome and integrating those lessons to subsequent experiments and initiatives (think of a pilot program).

The article also promotes the benefits of organizing large and/or long-term initiatives into small pieces. “Lean has taught us that you still need to know where you’re going,” Jen adds, “but you have this ability to chunk things up, not only the app delivery team but IT leadership as well.”

In other words, it still pays to be like Ike. Planning is everything, and there are new tools, techniques and learnings that can make plans more effective in a rapidly changing world.

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Tricia Schafer-Petrecz

Public Relations and Social Media Lead

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Tricia Schafer-Petrecz manages Vertex's public relations and social media functions. Tricia has over 20 years of experience managing public relations, corporate communications and generating thought leadership for the financial services and technology industries. Tricia has a B.A. in english, a B.A. in communications and a Master's degree in Communications from La Salle University.

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