How do you forecast a five year roadmap?

3.4k views1 Upvote13 Comments

Director of Engineering in Software, 11 - 50 employees
Basing your roadmap on the current trends helps a lot, especially for the areas that I'm more interested in, which are educational and agricultural technology. I'm constantly looking at what's happening both here in India, as well as abroad. Then I figure out which players are working on it here right now. I make an evaluation based on the needs that we have here in India. For education, I know that online education is going to play a major role. But I also know that it's not going to be at the secondary level. Online education is going to play out majorly where people need to upskill themselves. I provide training services as well, so I know where the need is.
All things C-Suite in Energy and Utilities, 2 - 10 employees
Broad strokes with lots of room to adjust to market moves. I like to use a “stellar” model - it combines strategic linear design with agile methodologies.
CIO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
Keep north star metrics at the core
COO in Healthcare and Biotech, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Traditionally, I have created multi-year roadmaps using a 3-step process:
1) Assess current state
2) Define future state
3) Create roadmap

The roadmap is the set of initiatives needed to get the company (or department) from current state to future state. 
VP IT (CIO role) in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
- develop high level end state vision based on business plan.  
- develop high level roadmap/milestones to move from 'as is' status to ebd state vision
- develop 18-24 months plan with more specific deliverables
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Way back in 1995 as an IT Head, I ventured to create a 5-year plan and 10-year vision for a company. The 5 year plan had technology architecture defined without the vendor names. Some of the technology was just beginning to raise interest (Internet, websites, e-commerce). We linked it to the strategic vision of the company on where it wanted to be by the year 2000 ! This was reviewed every year and to that extent it became a 5-year rolling plan/strategy/intent.

The company did leverage the first 3 years more or less, in 1998, Y2K became a priority and the bust in 2001 disrupted all the well laid out plans. 

So what happened to the 10-year vision? That was blue sky thinking to a large extent, reproducing some of them here:

1. Personal mobility with anytime anywhere access.
2. Store and forward video snippets on mobile moving to live video. Off-course what we envisaged was not the smartphone as we know it today.
3. Insights from data, it was early days of spreadsheets
4. Live streaming data from vehicles (not IoT, but basic)

Most of the 10-year thought happened, some earlier, some later. Maybe lucky thinking. But today how can a 5-year forecast be created in a scenario when even business does not know what will happen in 5 years. Some steps that may help:

1. Know the industry well enough to foresee future trends and directions
2. Look at upcoming technologies (e.g. Gartner hype cycle) and if they could play a role
3. Think how the industry could be disrupted by new/old ideas that were thought to be impractical
4. What changes you would like to create when the business scales.
5. Don't constrain your thinking by budget allocation or current challenges.

Publish to the Management/Board; not everyone will like what you have to say, some may even be uninterested and tell you that you are wasting your time on wishful thinking than solving today's problems. Review periodically and fine tune, it will help you in the future !

VP in Software, 10,001+ employees
Yes we do 5 years roadmap like any large organization, however, the key to the roadmap is agility and the ability to change with market demands.
Manager in Construction, 51 - 200 employees
Your roadmap needs to include both long-term and short-term goals that the business wants to achieve through technology implementation. A review of current trends is also key, seeing what other companies are doing helps you not "re-invent the wheel". As you pull together the plan, ensuring that you can support it / get relevant training is important.
VP in Software, 10,001+ employees
Yes, like many large enterprises we do have five-year roadmap; however, the key to the success of these roadmaps and strategies is its ability to adjust and adapt to the market changes
CIO in Software, 10,001+ employees
Basically, I follow a common process of: assessing current state of our technology, reviewing current business needs plus pipeline ahead and then checking on new trends on the market to finally prepare a roadmap for the department.

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