Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day needs of your company. This is especially true with your IT department.
While it may seem like you’re getting a lot done, you might actually just be providing band-aid solutions to what could be a deeper problem.
That’s why it’s important to take a step back and look at your entire IT structure, all of your needs, and what you hope to accomplish looking forward – so you make sure that your IT is working for you instead of against you.
Why develop an IT strategy?
Primarily, the value of an IT strategy is to make sure you aren’t misdirecting resources or overlooking technology that’s critical to the growth of your business operations.
If you end up falling into a cycle of reactionary IT, then you’re not utilizing your technology to its fullest potential. Technology can drive your business forward with more efficient processes or innovative solutions to problems. Putting out technological fires is only holding you back.
What are your goals?
You started a business for a reason. Maybe it was because you knew that you had better processes or better people. Whatever the reason may be, you could picture what your business would look like, how it would work – you had some sort of goal in mind. Visualize where you want to be with your company this year and in the next two or even five years from now.
Your IT should reflect this vision you have for your company. Consider what systems, projects or steps would be necessary to achieve what you envision. Think about what the perfect setup is – (obviously, you wouldn’t want to let your budget get out of control, but) what do you invest in and when?
These are the kinds of questions to consider and discussions to have with your management and IT teams.
Write that down!
When you start to break down the steps toward achieving your business goals, start making a list of those that will guide your strategy. Prioritize the must-haves, nice-to-haves, and the if-only-this-tech-existed-we-would-haves (maybe it will be developed by the time you get there, or maybe you’ll find a good equivalent) – list everything.
Then, take stock of your current technology needs and infrastructure. You may be closer to some of your goals than you think.
Measure your progress
Now that you have short- and long-term goals, you can figure out what metrics to measure the progress toward your goals. Get specific.
“Next quarter we’ll upgrade x system. Then, y process will be much faster and more efficient, leading to approximately z extra resources to devote to department d,” with department d being a part of your larger business goals.
It may sound hokey, but having clearly stated goals for your IT will make it easier to move forward strategically. For that matter, these tips could be applied to virtually every aspect of your business.
Don’t stop there
Reviewing your goals isn’t just a one-time thing. Don’t set them in stone, either.
Periodically review your business and IT goals to make sure they are still relevant. If you have to pivot or revise, it isn’t a failure – you’re staying flexible and competitive.
This is especially true of your IT goals – technology is changing all the time, and so might your business needs. You may stumble upon a quick fix to a problem as it’s being developed or have to replace an existing system faster than you expected because it isn’t fulfilling your customer or internal demands.
If you want to get a jump start on your IT strategy, it’s always a great idea to reach out to experts. Expertise is your partner on the long road ahead of you. The right answers at the right time can get you much farther much faster.