Your IT strategy will differ from just about every other company – it will be completely unique to you. So if you’ve ever wondered how to actually craft a strategic IT plan or if you’re looking for a refresher on the subject, look no further. We’ve identified four critical steps that can help you create the perfect actionable IT strategy that aligns your business goals with your technology.
1. Set short-term and long-term business goals
You must always prioritize your IT in the context of the operations and strategy of your business over. Though IT is still paramount to your business success, it’s imperative to realize the key truth: Every aspect of your IT must strategically empower your business. Having technology for technology’s sake isn’t inherently useful and often results in unnecessary confusion and complication within your business. By developing actionable goals for your business, you begin to form a roadmap that clarifies your path. This path will likely be very different than the path you’ll take 5 years from now. Related:51% of small-business owners cite time as the single biggest obstacle to adopting new technologies, and 18% say a lack of understanding is their greatest barrier. Establishing these strategic paths for your business will help determine the general direction to take your technology. For example, if you plan to grow your business to include more eCommerce transactions, you’ll want to start considering security compliance regulations, server storage, and cloud-based backup options.
2. Examine your current IT infrastructure
After conceptualizing the path of your business, you can start to look at the current state of your IT infrastructure. Take stock of all your organization’s devices and software and figure out how they’re currently being utilized. Even a cursory overview of your technology can tell you where you need to focus your efforts to optimize and then align for growth and change. For example, your office productivity may suffer due to malfunctioning and outdated workstations. Even though you can’t do anything at this very moment, you’ve gained valuable insight into how and where to allocate your resources. That’s the perfect starting point for an effective IT strategy.
3. Determine bottlenecks and implement solutions
After you’ve taken thorough stock of your inventory and infrastructure, you can begin to analyze and implement solutions. You can start by examining the areas of your business that need additional resources to complete their tasks more effectively. In addition, you can look for wasted resources. Take program licenses as an example – some users in your office may not need licensing for specialized programs. However, it’s easy to lose track of these licenses over time. Removing those you don’t use can put money back into your company that would be better suited for other areas. Related:Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.3% from 2017 estimated spending of $3.5 trillion, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. You can also more easily identify operational bottlenecks caused by IT. The right technology can remove these bottlenecks completely, giving you back time, resources, and productivity.
4. Assess and analyze new IT solutions for effectiveness
Completing the initial implementation of your IT strategy doesn’t mean you should stop improving it. As you address all your bottlenecks and create implementation plans for necessary solutions, you must shift to an analytical phase. The best progress in your business improvement is made during this phase. You can drill down into actual results and make tweaks as necessary. That may mean adjusting levels of devices and programs or even changing internal IT processes to fit the real-world needs of your organization.
Crafting a purposeful IT strategy
Using these four steps will put you on a path to creating the right strategy for your organization. To get the most out of it, you’ll need to seamlessly integrate the strategy with other facets of your IT. We’ve created a helpful acronym to ensure each and every part of your IT works toward both your strategy and business goals. We refer to it simply as “ASM” – it stands for Availability, Security, and Mobility.