Adding value with an effective technology strategyRyan Langley
When developing a new information technology strategy, balancing the short- and long-term costs of that plan with your company’s needs and goals takes careful planning. By taking a close look at both the cost and effectiveness of your current programs, you can develop an effective strategy that will meet the needs of your business and your employees while avoiding unnecessary costs.
Ultimately, you want to achieve an alignment of IT and business objectives, so that existing infrastructure and applications support strategic objectives. It means that you place IT in the driving seat for contributing to strategic value within the organisation.
Start with these eight steps to develop an effective technology strategy:
1. Conduct a technology assessment
The first step is to take a look at your current technology program. Assess all of your technology resources and your information systems, including your staffing needs. Technology moves fast, and what worked for your company in the past may be out of date, or you may be paying too much for technology tools you do not use.
Take an in-depth look at your business operations and determine your short- and long-term IT goals. Decide where you are now, what your objectives are for the future, and how you want to get there.
2. Determine what resources you require
Your next move is to decide what resources you will need to update and implement your IT strategy. Does it require only minor modifications, or will you need to hire an outside agency to help you develop that strategy and put it in place? Does your staff have the skills to adapt to that new plan, or will training and education be needed for successful technology implementation?
Developing timelines, listing technology needs, and creating an IT budget are all necessary parts of this step. Understanding your requirements in advance will give you a more accurate estimate of both the cost and the additional resources needed. Being honest with what your strengths are and identifying where you would like to lean on technology experts is key. You are the agent of change, and the one who best understands your business objectives. Find someone who can add to this with their insights and experience.
3. Match technology needs to business objectives
Often businesses have an IT infrastructure that is out of date, and they need a new technology platform in order to perform effectively and grow. Beyond simply updating your technology, your IT strategy also needs to work with your business objective. This requires a clear understanding of your company’s objectives.
Do you want to become a cloud-first business or enable your employees to work remotely? Do you need to secure the data within the business in order to meet regulatory requirements? Is your objective to enable collaboration tools such as video conference rooms and video conference tools, and use programs such as Office 365, Teams, or Zoom? Are business restructuring and cost-cutting your main goals? Few companies are forecasting growth in the current climate, but scalability is key to ensure you can act fast in an unpredictable world.
4. Align your technology plan with the company’s strategic plan
We can’t say this often enough. Understanding the business’ strategic objectives, and matching the technology to these, creates an aligned technology roadmap which really drives value.
To be effective, your technology must coordinate not only with short-term objectives but also with your organization’s long-term strategic plan. If your organization has a long-term goal to increase revenue through fundraising, for example, your technology plan must reflect the details, such as upgrading software to collect and manage online donations.
Without a strategic plan in place, you could end up investing a lot of time and resources in technology that may be both expensive and unnecessary. Your strategy is to not only upgrade technology but to do so in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Your business objectives should be central to the technology roadmap, and the roadmap designed to help drive these objectives, adding value and removing friction. An effective technology strategy needs to be more about the business than about IT – and this requires a unique skillset, not just knowledge of all the exciting new technologies out there. Consider whether your current provider, or your in-house team, has the experience right across your sector and the insight to point out what’s going to work, and what is a waste of time.
5. Present your IT Strategy Plan
The objectives outlined in your IT strategic plan should not only align with the organisation’s objectives and mission but also must be flexible enough to adapt. There must be room in your plan to accommodate changing business priorities and technologies and allow for business growth.
An IT team must be knowledgeable about your organisation and your priorities to strategically identify the technology in which your business should invest. Their goal should be to take your company to a level where it operates with maximum efficiency while eliminating any technology that will prove expensive and unnecessary. The plan should clearly delineate what steps must be taken and demonstrate how this strategy will be successful before it is implemented.
Sometimes you know what the business needs, and you may even have identified a solution you think will drive value. Yet putting the case together is a challenge. If you need help in building a business case and presenting it to the business, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We are happy to provide you with the support and documentation you need to present your case.
6. Implement your IT strategy
Once the plan is in place, it is time to execute your updated information technology strategy. With proper assessment and planning, a team of engineers will be able to implement the plan with efficiency and minimal disruption to your business. Any technological glitches should be minimal, providing you have paid attention to each detail and used quality platforms and tools.
7. Proper support is essential
Once your new IT system is up and running, it must be backed up with a quality support team that can answer any questions or work out any problems that may arise. Without proper support, minor issues can turn into major problems that could potentially shut down your entire system. Make sure you have well-trained support that will be available when you need them.
8. Re-evaluate periodically
Just like your business, technology is never static. A technology strategy is a guide. Like any plan, it must be responsive and open to change as the needs of your organisation, the world around us, and technology itself changes. One key trend that is emerging is the need for evergreen IT where you move from periodic overhauls to platforms which are constantly updated and always growing.
If you are implementing change, ensure that there is a roadmap, and that you have clearly defined posts along the journey which you stick to. If you need help driving your IT roadmap, and ensuring that your projects stay on time and on-budget, consider the different paths you can take to accomplish your goals. Having a technical voice in the support from a subject matter expert can be invaluable in the implementation process.
Your company will go through periods of expansion and change. Your information technology strategy must be able to grow and adapt as well.
At Atech, our mission is to deliver expert service throughout your entire IT journey. Our strategists will help you identify the right technology for your needs, while our experienced engineers will implement your technology strategy with a clear timeline. Once the project is complete, we provide proactive and knowledgeable support via our dedicated helpdesk for business-as-usual.
We work hard to understand your business goals, and we deliver and support the technology strategy you need to get you there. Let us help you create the next version of your business by contacting us today.
This is a challenge for the business as well as for individual leaders: how do you find a structured way for IT to add strategic value to the business instead of being an operational leader managing a cost center? In this article, we outline the path to an effective technology strategy for meeting even the most challenging objectives in changing times.