Like most business owners, you have a lot on your plate. Managing the day-to-day operations of your company is no small feat, and it’s too easy to overlook some of the details that can make or break your business in the long run.
When it comes to your company's future and how technology can help or hinder those efforts, it pays to be proactive with an IT strategy.
An IT strategy allows business leaders like you to move your focus from dealing with technology issues and challenges to focusing on strategic initiatives and outcomes.
IT projects no longer need to be executed on an ad hoc basis but should instead be a well-thought-out initiatives with a perspective over the longer term.
This guide will help you create the best IT strategy that’s cohesive and compelling while also actionable.
We’ll give you all the information you need to get started—from how an IT strategy helps you with your long-term business goals, how to develop the best one, and how to execute the plan efficiently with seven intelligent tips.
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What is an IT Strategy?
An IT strategy is documentation that outlines your company's technological infrastructure and capabilities. It’s a high-level framework that helps you organize your company’s IT processes and resources.
Your information technology strategy is a vital component of your IT capability, as it lays out what you have, where you’re going, and how you plan to get there.
IT Strategy Requirements
This document must be clear, easy to read, and easy-to-understand by any employee at your company.
It should be written in a way that everyone can understand, from the CIO to the janitorial staff. It should include budgeting information, strategy documents, and operating models for the future state of the company’s technology architecture.
The strategy should also include representatives from every department at your organization—including marketing and accounting—and ideally should be led by your Chief Information Officer (CIO) or outsourced to a virtual CIO.
How Can an Information Technology Strategy Help Improve Your Business
In a world of growing complexity, rapid innovation, and new technologies that require large amounts of reliable data to produce accurate insights, it becomes clear that it’s not enough to simply have a strategy—you need one that will help your business grow.
However, an information technology strategy can be a costly investment. You need to ensure that your business has access to the latest technological advancements when needed—whether it’s building an app for one of your clients or upgrading old equipment so that it doesn’t become obsolete overnight.
Still, it’s well worth the cost if you want to ensure your organization is equipped to keep up with the latest technologies.
Many new technologies, such as those using AI and big data for business intelligence require a large amount of reliable data to produce accurate insights.
An effective IT business strategy helps ensure that your organization can effectively collect, process, govern, and analyze all types of data to provide accurate insights.
As your company expands and grows, so do the demands on your IT department. At the same time, you want to keep costs down and maximize efficiency.
Business owners have a lot on their plate. Managing the day-to-day operations of your company is no small feat, and it’s too easy to overlook some of the details that can make or break your business in the long run. When it comes your company’s future and how technology can help or hinder those efforts, it pays to be proactive with an IT strategy.
7 Tips for Developing the Best IT Business Strategy
Information technology, or IT, plays an essential role in almost every business today.
However, many companies struggle to determine the best way to integrate and use technology to support their goals. There are numerous ways to approach this problem, so it can be challenging to find the best one for your business.
67% of strategies failed because of poor execution. Avoid this by following these five tips for developing the best IT strategy for your business.
Understand your Business Goals
The first step is to clearly define what you want to achieve with the new technology and how it will contribute to the organization's overall success. Be clear about what it is you’re trying to achieve.
Know your business goals and objectives before determining how technology will help you achieve them.
The why behind a new initiative is always more important than just going through the motions. The most valuable tool here is a simple list of questions:
- Where do you want to be in three years?
- What measurable outcomes are required to achieve that goal?
- What’s stopping you from achieving those outcomes now?
Many business owners don’t ask these questions, which is why many fail. If you have specific objectives and measurable outcomes, everything else about your IT strategy will fall into place.
Defining specific objectives and measurable outcomes will help you set realistic expectations for what can be achieved through a strategic IT investment.
Understand your Business Processes
An effective IT strategy must consider how every aspect of a company functions—and how technology can enhance each one of those functions.
By identifying all key processes, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas where improvements are needed and create solutions that align with both short-term goals and long-term ones (such as expansion or growth).
Identify Your Requirements
Determine your business requirements, constraints, and challenges to determine what solutions would work best for each process identified above.
This includes keeping an eye out for potential risks that could result from implementing technologies like artificial intelligence or blockchain that may not yet have been proven effective within specific industries/markets (or at all).
For example: “We need this software system quickly because our competitors are getting ahead.” Or “Our industry has too many regulations preventing us from getting started immediately.”
Develop roadmaps or timelines for each stage in this process so that everyone knows where they are headed at all times, which helps prevent confusion or miscommunication along the way (which could cost precious time).
The IT Strategy Roadmap is also an opportunity to gain insights into what capabilities can be implemented to form the basis for new business models.
Are there any opportunities to leverage cloud-based services? Can third parties be engaged in areas that offer expertise or cost advantages over internal resources?
Consider Current Technology
Once you have defined your problem and set your goals, it’s time to look at how technology can help with those issues.
Many business leaders are looking hard at how technology can help them with specific tasks, but very few look at how information technology can change their business.
For instance, introducing new technologies into your organization may require you to rethink everything from hiring decisions to company structure.
As you consider new technologies like cloud computing or mobile technology, ask yourself:
- How can we implement these things in a way that keeps us relevant?
- What risks do they pose?
- How will they affect our current processes and customers?
- Would we need to re-train staff or hire new ones?
These questions will help you determine whether it’s worth investing in particular technologies.
Evaluate Future Technologies
For starters, it’s important to decide whether you want to try and be innovative or if you want to use future technologies as they come.
In other words, do you want to create something new that doesn’t yet exist or just wait until something exists and implement it?
Creating something new requires a lot of effort and sometimes involves finding ways to improve things.
Implementing existing technologies doesn’t require an in-depth analysis, but it can take extra time because we still have to update our systems later.
Many factors play into what strategy is best for your business, but understanding how new technologies will affect your industry is always a good place to start.
Create an Implementation Plan
Once you’ve developed your strategy, it’s time to implement it. Studies show that 50% of leaders agree that implementation is equally important as strategizing.
You’ll need to get all departments on board with your plan and create an implementation plan outlining specific milestones and responsibilities over a designated period.
Even if your goals are set in stone, be prepared to adapt. Things change in business, and so should your plans. 98% of business leaders believe implementation takes more time than formulation, so be adaptable.
One year from now is an eternity in business—make sure that by then, you’re on track with what your business needs and where it needs to go. Implement changes along the way as needed; don’t wait until next year!
IT Strategy: Final Thoughts
An effective information technology strategy is the key to delivering a business’ long-term vision and achieving success. An IT strategy should also be robust enough to handle any project or initiative within the company while ensuring that they all align with one another.
The future of your business is in your hands. You can take action today to have a successful IT strategy that will help you grow and thrive.
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