IT Plan and Bringing IT In-House
At this point, we have covered the importance of aligning your IT Strategy with your Business Plan and When the Right Time is to Bring Your IT In-house. Now it is time to cover the IT Plan. Subsequently, an IT Plan is a strategic exercise to determine the steps, resources, and technology investments required to meet your business goals. Similar to the IT Strategy, this too needs to be planned by your steering committee. But when is an IT Plan appropriate for your organization?
When To Do An IT Plan
An IT Plan is important when your company has a plan for growth and intends to bring IT in-house. Accordingly, an IT Plan speeds up the time for approval as each phase is rolled out. However, it is not enough to go out and hire in hopes the IT person will be able to do the job. Rather, you need a plan.
As your company reaches each goal, you will likely reach a point where you will want to build out your own internal IT resources. For example, you may want to start with a strategic CIO to execute your technology initiatives. Or instead, you might want dedicated onsite support to be at the beck and call of your end-users. Whatever you decided to do, you probably don’t want to take on a full IT department at once: primarily because it is extremely expensive to invest in all skill levels and technology tools at once. For this reason, it is best to ease into it and partner with an MSP who supports your goals.
Doing The IT Plan On Your Own
Fortunately, you can execute an IT Plan on your own! It doesn’t need to be anything fancy; it just needs to be clear and complete. Subsequently, a good IT plan should support the vision and strategy of the business. In fact, it should be simple, specific to your company and culture, and should cover no more than five years. Most importantly, it should be at a high level. Clearly this would allow you to adjust the plan for unexpected changes. Additionally, there are many IT plan templates available, and there is one that is just right for you; you just need to research to find it.
Hiring a Company To Do Your IT Plan
You can also hire a consulting company to do the strategic IT plan if you feel you don’t have enough knowledge or expertise to do it yourself. They will likely map out a very comprehensive plan that includes details similar to those found in Nigel Fenwick’s outline below.
Nigel Fenwick, a Forester Analyst, has extensive experience helping companies drive transformation growth with emerging technologies. Nigel has an impressive published paper in Forester Research entitled “Business Technology Strategy Template”, which serves as a good IT Plan outline. It short, it includes:
- Executive Summary – business vision, mission, and values, business goals and assumptions
- A Core Structure – tailored to your business based on the set of common elements of business technology strategies:
- Major market drivers and economic/market trends with expected business impacts on people and demographic trends with expected business impact
- Business and Market Trends – with expected business impact, geopolitical trends with expected business impact, emerging technology trends with expected business impact, PEST analysis (political, economic, social, and technological)
- SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis – organizational and external environment and competition
- Business Capabilities (high-level capability map) – Identified strategic capabilities with an assessment of each, business strategy to achieve goals, changes in business capabilities, and assumptions.
- Investments in People, Process, and Technology – business technology road-map; scenario plans, impact on strategies for different scenarios.
The most important thing is to have an agreement from all the executive management to use this as a guideline for the future. Again, this will speed up the time for approval each step of the way.
Type of Engineer and Cost
After you have done your IT plan, you will know which level(s) of support you want to bring in-house. For example, do you want someone more strategic that can learn the inner workings of your company? Or do you want someone who can map out a strategic direction and provide a vision to meet your goals? Below is a high-level chart with information on each type of resource:
* Note – It is important to hire someone with experience if they will have little technical oversight.
Timing and transition
As you recall, it is expensive to take on a full IT department all at once, hence the need for a transition plan. This means your internal IT resource will need the support of other engineers and technology tools. For instance, they must have others to bounce ideas off of, to escalate issues to, to handle the overload, help with projects, and to serve as a backup. Further, they must have the means to track the tickets and monitor the assets.
Clearly, I have known several highly talented engineers over the years. However, none of them knew everything there is to know about IT (be wary of those that claim they do!) As an example, some of the most talented network engineers I know struggle with desktop issues because it has been years since they touched it. In addition, they absolutely hate entry-level work because they feel it is beneath them, yet in reality, it is! You do not want to pay senior level engineers to do entry-level work; it is not economically feasible.
Therefore, a great resource during transition is an MSP who supports your goals to bring IT in-house.
INSI is Here to Help During Your Transition!
At INSI, we support your goals to bring your IT in-house. As an example, we have several services specifically designed for Internal IT Departments. This ranges from engineering access to our robust tools (ticketing system, monitoring tools, asset tracking, etc.), all the way up to engineering resources (helpdesk, escalation, CIO level planning, etc.). Wherever you are in your IT Plan, we have the tools and resources to help move you toward your goals. Please contact us today if you are planning to slowly transition to your own internal IT department, or if your current team needs help. We are here to help.
Do You Want To Learn More About IT Plans?
If you would like to know more about this topic and how it affects you, visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a copy of the book IT Outsourcing Secrets – A Small Business Guide to Comparing IT Support Companies.