Adding An IT Strategy to Your Organization
Why do you need an IT strategy for your business? Times have changed. In the past, companies succeeded in their hard work, excellent products/service, integrity, and reputation. However, in today’s digital landscape, it is not enough to just merely have good services or products, you must constantly deliver more value to your stakeholders. More than anything else, clients want the ease of service. They migrate toward companies that have a technological advantage. Therefore, you must know what your competitors are doing, what technology is available, and the new market entries in your competitive landscape.
The purpose of an IT Strategy is to gain a competitive technological advantage in the market place. In the same way, it must align your IT strategy with your business goals. Therefore, it is important to build an IT strategy team that understands all areas of your business. This will not only give you greater insight but also ensure buy-in as you reach new phases of the plan. Further, it will serve as a strategic road-map when your business reaches new stages of your business plan.
Your IT Strategy Team
Your IT Strategy Team should be led by the CEO. Also, other members should include leaders in finance, operations, sales, marketing, and technology. A team that includes all these areas would be able to not only provide valuable insight but also ensure IT investments bring maximum value to the business.
Ideally, your team will consist of the same members who designed the Business Strategy Plan. After all, the purpose of the IT strategy is to align IT capabilities with business goal requirements.
Your IT Strategy Must Support Your Business Plan
An effective IT Strategy must have measurable links to your business strategy. This means you must already have a business strategy mapped out. This will ensure your business plan drives IT, not the other way around. Unfortunately, many businesses have made the mistake of loosely defining their IT objectives and were reactive on their technology purchases. As a result, they end up making poor choices. Other examples include companies that choose their business applications first and then force their workflow to fit within the software’ perimeters. This results in a lot of work around’s. Both are equally as bad as the other and both can be avoided with an IT strategy.
In contrast, when you define your IT strategy, you should first already know your 5-year strategy, have researched your competition, performed a SWOT analysis, analyzed the data, identified gaps, and formulated a strategy.
Important Characteristics of an IT Strategy
Now that you have your Business Strategy complete, it is time to put together your IT strategy. Think of this as an action plan. Thus, it must help you:
- Move toward your future goals
- Meet your business objectives
- Address your current weaknesses
- Tackle your clients’ needs and desires
- Drive corporate innovation, growth and competitive advantage
- Anticipate a realistic IT budget based on the expected return on investment (ROI)
- Align your IT into short- and long-term goals
Fortunately, you do not have to create an IT Strategy from scratch. There are several free and paid-for templates on the market and each one varies greatly.
INSI can help small- and medium-sized businesses develop their IT Strategy and identify technology that meets their requirements to give them a strategic advantage. If you would like to know more about our consulting services, please contact our sales center at 770-387-2424 option 2.
After you develop your IT strategy, the next step is to develop your IT Plan. An IT Plan determines what, if any, internal IT resources and new technology are required each stage of your IT strategy. It can also serve as a transition plan as your company grows. A good IT plan will serve as the guideline for the strategic direction for all your IT initiatives in the future. Last, it will help you receive faster approval during each phase of the plan because you already gained acceptance from the executive team from the beginning.
Contact INSI if you need help with IT Strategy, IT Planning, technology tools, or additional IT engineering resources. We have technology tools/resources for your internal IT department, Customized IT™, Managed Services, Vigilance Services, and Options to help you at each stage of your transition.
Do You Want to Know More About IT Plans?
Our next article will cover the IT Plan in depth. However, 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.