Learn how to create a robust and forward-looking IT strategic plan to help fuel your business.
Most organisations have an IT department, but few have an IT strategy. Much of the work the IT team handles is reactive. Fixing problems, supporting and upgrading existing software and networks, or integrating new technology leaves little time for planning strategy. Yet, it’s crucial for the future.
What is IT Strategy?
Just like your business strategy, an IT strategy looks ahead to anticipate challenges, threats, and opportunities.
It’s not capital planning for current needs or renegotiating your data package. An IT strategy is central to digital transformation to stay competitive and grow your business.
Why Is IT Strategy Important?
An IT strategy begins with the end in mind. By looking ahead, you can get out of day-to-day and reactive thinking to plot the future. If you don’t know where you want to go three years or five years from now, it’s going to be challenging to get there. An IT strategy allows you to envision the future and then plan out the steps to get there.
If you haven’t developed your strategic plan for digital transformation, you’re falling behind. 70% of companies either have a digital strategy in place or are in the process of developing one.
What Are the Benefits of IT Strategy?
Perhaps the most significant benefits to developing an IT strategy are to maintain a competitive advantage and avoid obsolescence.
Business moves at an incredible pace these days. Emerging tech, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning can produce data insights that would otherwise be unattainable. Agile strategies built on the right tech platform can bring products to market faster in a more efficient environment.
Integrated IT and tech into your total operation can produce significant results. A survey of executives that have embraced IT strategic planning and digital transformation report these critical benefits to their organisation:
- Improved operational efficiency
- Faster time to market
- Ability to better meet customer expectations
An IT strategy sets the table for the future. Conversely, failing to plan relegates your IT team to the role of fixer and problem solver rather than an important part of growing your business.
What Are the Steps to Creating an IT Strategy?
Creating an effective IT strategy will take more than just the IT team. It’s not just about IT. It’s about how IT impacts every aspect of the business. That means buy-in and participation from the top of the organisation and leadership teams.
Companies creating an IT strategic plan should include leaders from each functional area within the organisation when developing the plan.
Here are the critical steps to creating an IT strategy:
Determine the period over which you want your IT strategy to roll out. Typically, businesses look at a 3-5-year range. Although some organisations may choose to look out further, as technology continuously evolves, it can make it difficult to anticipate what may come next that might disrupt your planning.
This project needs to be managed from the top of the organisation and not just left in the hands of the IT team. Key leadership needs to be involved, as does department heads, managers, and leadership teams. Technology impacts nearly every area of every business.
Business Intelligence & Research
There needs to be broad business knowledge across all aspects of IT strategy and how it impacts operations. With the end in mind, determine any information gathering that needs to take place.
It can be difficult at times to see things clearly when you are in the middle of it. It helps to get help from outsiders that are experts in IT strategy and can help you see things you might be missing.
Develop a documented strategic plan. It should include clear goals, outcomes, and timelines. This is the only way to monitor progress and make sure you are reaching your goals.
Monitor and Adjust
Quarterly updates to the strategic plan can help make sure you are on track towards meeting your goals. Whenever key business objectives evolve, it’s also the time to pull out the plan and make sure it still works to achieve your goals.
Do You Need Outside Help to Plan Your IT Strategy?
Creating a robust and forward-looking IT strategic plan goes together with creating an overall strategic plan for your business. The two are intimately intertwined in most companies. This alignment is crucial for success.
Even some of the largest organisations in the world get outside help when crafting or deploying an IT strategy. Whether they are using managed IT services, asset management services, or migrating to the cloud, working with experts to manage the digital strategy can help make your business run more smoothly.
Optimising your technology to create an efficient IT environment doesn’t happen by being reactive. It requires time, experience, and a proven strategy to meet your goals.
Steadfast Solutions is an IT Services & Managed IT Support company operating in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and nationwide. Whether you are looking to supplement your existing IT resources, want to outsource your IT, or need help in developing an IT strategy, let the experts at Steadfast Solutions help your business grow. Contact us today.