IT Success Starts With Strategic Planning
Although IT is an expense for most businesses, not a profit center, IT can be a major contributor to the business’s success. In order to make that happen, IT needs to define its goals so they align with the business strategy. This requires creating a comprehensive strategic IT plan that’s about more than simply technology selection. Your IT plan needs to support the business, adapt to changes initiated from within or imposed from outside, and provide the quality and service levels your organization needs to be competitive.
Plan to Make Technology Choices Within the Business Context
To be sure, evaluating a company’s technology portfolio is a major part of creating the IT strategy. The existing architecture—both hardware and software—has to be reviewed for its effectiveness and ability to meet existing business needs and expected growth. The plan needs to include scheduled maintenance upgrades as well as incorporating emerging technology that may allow the business new ways to operate. Metrics need to be developed to measure effectiveness of the technology. And all of the changes need to be cost-effective and within budgets determined by the business.
Plan to Implement Technical Transformations
Implementing new technology is rarely as simple as plugging in a new piece of equipment and putting the old equipment out for recycling. Changes need to be prioritized and scheduled at a manageable pace. Criteria need to be developed to select vendors and manage the relationships. The new technology needs to be incorporated without impacting services to end users and with appropriate security and compliance controls.
Plan to Develop People and Procedures
Changes in technology can require re-training existing staff or adding new staff with new expertise; you need to decide whether to bring these new skills in-house or if it makes more sense to outsource that capability. New technology can mean training through the entire organization, not just the IT team. New operational procedures need to be developed, documented, and put into practice; new governance, compliance, and SLA policies need to be created and monitored to ensure that the technology is used appropriately.
Plan to Respond to Crises
Plans that only work when everything goes according to plan have limited usefulness. The world doesn’t operate smoothly, and plans need to anticipate breakdowns and ensure operations continue even when components fail or other crises interrupt the normal routine. For the IT team, this means developing comprehensive and reliable backup/restore, business continuity, and disaster recovery plans.
Plan to Solicit Advice in Developing These Plans
Creating a comprehensive IT strategy that addresses all these aspects requires a deep understanding of the current state of technology, where technology trends are going, and how technology can be applied to help the benefit. The experts at Prescient Solutions work with the CIO’s team to explore the opportunities for applying technology to meet business challenges and develop a plan that maximizes the impact while minimizing the expense and disruption of technical change. Contact us to begin developing an IT strategy that will help your company through the challenges you anticipate as well as the unexpected challenges that inevitably arise.