Planning an IT strategy for your business means examining your current and future IT needs. It also requires creating strategic objectives and a vision. The strategy will put in place programs and a culture that helps you meet your goals.
Developing an all-inclusive business IT strategy can help your company deal with limited resources and aged systems. Such limitations may lead to IT issues and user dissatisfaction. A good IT strategy focuses on system and digital transformation, defining how your business can increase its IT capabilities.
The strategy defines your company’s IT vision for the future. It also provides a roadmap to increase your company’s IT value.
So how do you create a perfect IT strategy for your company? Use the below tips to guide you.
1. Explain How Your Strategy Aligns With Your Company’s Bottom Line
The right IT strategy for your business must align with your company’s bottom line and goals. This is where you list down all your company’s objectives for the next five years. Then explain how your proposed strategy will meet these objectives.
This is also the best section to explain how the proposed IT strategy can increase business value.
For example, you work for a travel agency whose goal is to provide customers with an online self-booking tool. Your proposed IT strategy must explain how to meet this goal.
2. Collect Information From Key People in the Company
Have a sit-down with critical stakeholders in the company, such as heads of departments, managers, and shareholders. Talking to them will help you understand their expectations, opinions, and objectives for their different dockets.
You can also communicate with them through surveys and group interviews.
The information you gather will help you create a forward-thinking IT strategy that addresses the company’s future growth and current technological needs.
You should also collect and analyze data on current and future technological trends in your specific industry. This will be instrumental in understanding what IT infrastructure changes you may require.
3. Define the Strategy’s Coverage Period
This segment outlines how long you should implement the strategy. Always write a long-term plan that runs for at least five years, and rewrite the strategy every year. This allows for annual corrections and alterations depending on the company’s growth curve and evolving needs.
While it’s tempting to create a short-term IT strategy, you should avoid this at all costs. It’s challenging and almost impossible to make a valuable and meaningful IT transformation within a few months.
Instead of focusing on significant changes, you’ll be more focused on meeting deadlines.
4. Audit Current IT Infrastructure and Its Capabilities
After specifying your IT requirements and your strategy’s coverage period, it’s time to audit the current infrastructure and its capabilities. IT infrastructure includes hardware and software used in your data center.
Pinpoint any functionality and capability gaps in the IT department and look for the best ways to fill these gaps cost-effectively with as minor disruptions as possible.
Remember to also take into account the human aspect of IT management. This includes how your current employees are utilizing the technology and the challenges they are facing. Your IT strategy should address these issues and offer a feasible solution.
Don’t forget to also look at how every IT tool and software incorporates your objectives and the type of results your current IT infrastructure achieves.
5. Describe and Prioritize Critical Project Initiatives
List down all the projects you have considered and the critical execution of each. All the recommended projects should align with your company’s objectives and bring your IT vision to life.
IT projects are significant deliverables. Thus, ensure you put in the high-level rationalization required for each project to be executed.
Remember to also account for any changes down the road due to discoverable initiatives. How will your IT strategy respond when you need new projects? What will happen when changes are authorized from the top when in the middle of another project item?
What will happen if you need new software that you currently don’t have to streamline your processes?
An IT strategy is a step-by-step plan to be implemented over a period of time. It’s not a one-time project. Thus, remember to also plan for change when needed in the future.
6. Define Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
If you have a well-defined IT strategy, it’s essential to measure your progress to ensure you’re heading in the right direction. KPIs will ensure that your IT strategy is taking your company where it needs to be. They help you measure the strategy’s effectiveness.
Different strategies will have varying key metrics depending on the nature of the business and your strategy’s focus. Some key metrics include:
- Project deadline and delivery time
- Agility measurement
- Employee and customer satisfaction rate
- Sales and marketing ROI
- Service-based indicators
- Capacity utilization
You should define your KPIs based on your company’s core objectives.
What do you hope to achieve from the IT strategy, and how can you achieve your objectives? Answering this question will help you better understand how well to measure your strategy’s progress and success.
7. Get the Management of the Company Involved and Validate the Budget
After creating a strategy, you will need management support and an adequate budget to implement it.
Organize a data-driven forecast on the IT strategy’s return on investment (ROI) to attract its senior executives. Ensure you also cover many unforeseen events to get proper financial backing to implement the strategy.
8. Pinpoint the Right Resources
Most companies have in-house IT teams to handle everyday IT system maintenance and simple repairs. However, when the team is tasked with different IT projects or long-term decisions, including digital transformation, the resources are always stretched.
Before implementing your IT strategy, it’s essential to review the plan with a reputable IT strategy consulting firm. The firm will assess your company to ensure that you have the right expertise and enough personnel to support ongoing and new IT initiatives. This gives your company a competitive edge.
Your IT department is a valuable resource with the proper organizational knowledge to run any IT strategy. However, at critical stages of creating and executing such a strategy, the team will require extra support from a reputable IT company.
IT strategy consulting allows your team to fine-tune the strategy or delegate some daily operations and focus on other essential initiatives and objectives.
Pinpointing the right resources also includes working with reputable software partners on all IT services. Such essential outsourced online services include Netsuite Support, cloud storage, and backup, and CRM system support.
9. How Will Your Company Manage IT?
Did you know that 4.5% of a strategy’s potential is lost due to poor action planning? Strategic action planning means creating a step-by-step guide of how you will make your IT strategy a reality and turn it into action. This acts as a roadmap to help you through the implementation process as you strive to reach your goals.
Write down a detailed plan of managing the newly-created strategy. What management, personnel, or human resources do you require for your IT management? According to statistics, only 41% of companies believe they have the manpower to effectively implement their strategies.
This is where you describe your IT structure to help you figure out what you need. Essential questions to ask include:
- What is my current IT structure?
- How is each piece of this structure managed?
- Do I need managed IT services, or is my IT department okay as-is?
- Do I need to consider external, internal, vendor, and cloud management?
- How will AI technology help me automate essential aspects of my strategy?
Undertaking any significant IT initiative such as a strategy implementation should be run like a separate business. Thus, managing such an initiative may need additional staff, automated services, and a well-detailed plan to succeed.
10. Planning the Budget and Getting Management to Sign off on the Project
Write down all your budget needs to facilitate your IT and digital transformations within five years. Write a detailed budget for the first two years and estimate the costs of the remaining three to fie years. This helps the management team better understand the actual costs of executing your strategy.
Getting the management and key business leaders to sign off on the IT strategy should be the final step. Ensure you involve the administration in the planning process from conception to budget planning. That will make it easier for them to sign off on the project.
After creating an effective and relevant strategy, use it to guide your organization’s IT leaders through its operative period.
Are You Ready to Create a New IT Strategy?
Your IT strategy is an essential component of your business’s capabilities. It should help your company meet organizational needs, provide IT systems support and maintenance, and improve your business processes.
The strategy also defines your company’s ability to use its technological know-how and IT assets to create value. Follow the above steps to create a feasible IT strategy for your business.
Are you looking for more technological tips to improve your business operation? Check out other posts on our website.