IT Strategic Planning
There are many companies today who view their technology as a reactionary element of doing business. If somebody in the company needs a computer, software application, or any other technology component to run the day-to-day work, they just go out and buy it. No planning, no thought, or consideration of the impacts to the surrounding infrastructure. This often leaves employees with software that doesn’t meet business requirements, obsolete hardware, isolated “patchworked” systems that are not capable of fulfilling the company’s mission and goals, decreased productivity, and wasted capital.
Operating a business without a plan for technology only makes the day-to-day more difficult to manage, maintain, support, and budget for and most importantly puts your whole organization at risk of a security breach or ransom attack (and that is another troubling scenario to explore). A good IT strategy is a major catalyst of growth, development, and innovation. To effectively support today’s IT and digital business strategies, businesses must embrace IT strategic planning to be more driven, flexible, and experience growth.
What is an IT Strategy Plan?
Technology naturally evolves over time, constantly providing opportunities to provide better, faster, cheaper service. An IT strategic plan defines your technology vision and creates a strategic roadmap for using information technology, digital assets, and technical knowledge to create organizational value and achieve growth.
It is not simply a rundown of the financial investment necessary or a list of technologies to implement. Rather, it is an assessment of the digital transformation required to achieve business goals and should address any gaps between the current state of IT and meeting best practices.
Each section of the IT strategic plan should focus on one piece of the strategy and describe specific activities that needed to implement. An effective IT plan will include information on the people, partners, processes, authority, and systems required, to achieve business outcomes. It can also include a financial roadmap in order to understand where to make investments, timeframes, goals, and a discussion of risks and other capabilities the company will need. The plan should also include long-term initiatives (defined as those that will take three to five years to implement).
The scope and format of an IT strategy plan will vary from company to company; however, one thing should always remain consistent: The IT strategy plan should demonstrate alignment with the business strategy so that the IT strategies support the business strategies. When done well, an IT strategic plan will be a powerful tool to keep a business on track.
The Right Resources
While some companies have an IT team in place, it’s typically tasked with the day-to-day maintenance of the IT systems. Resources are often strained when the team must deal with additional IT projects and long-term digital transformation decisions.
Reviewing your strategic and project plans with an IT managed service provider gives you an impartial outside look to make sure you have sufficient personnel with the right expertise to support both new IT initiatives and ongoing operations along with additional consulting support for fine-tuning your IT strategy.