Businesses today use IT systems in a number of different ways. IT systems are fundamental to the commercial success of every business. Yet so many businesses are cynical about investing time and money into a strategic IT plan.
Today we are going to explain the impact of not having an IT strategy in place, why an IT strategy is important and how to create a successful IT strategy.
No IT strategy? What is the impact to your business?
Without an IT strategy in place businesses fail to ensure the needs of each department are met. As the business grows, legacy systems fight to keep every employee working to their full capacity, which results in large inefficiencies.
Over our 23 years of service we know one thing for certain – IT systems are usually implemented on a reactive basis, as and when they are needed. Which results in a mish-mash of IT systems within each department. This kind of approach is very common amongst SME’s. It usually occurs when the managers of each department are unaware of the overarching business strategy. In turn, it makes it extremely difficult for the IT department to support these individual systems. It can be expensive, unreliable and time consuming.
Why an IT strategy is so important
Technology has never been so fundamental, so having an IT strategy is extremely important in this digital age. It is being used to create new business models, products and services, enhance existing offerings and create deeper, more rewarding customer experiences – and as such businesses need to develop the right technology and IT strategy for success.
Below are just a few of the benefits that your business would receive if you were to implement an IT strategy:
- Improve productivity
- Streamline costs
- Be prepared for future growth
- Business flexibility
- Security and protection
How to create an IT strategy in 8 steps
The right approach to developing a new IT strategy involves a fairly structured, sequential process that produces a long-term view of the organisation’s technology requirements together with a plan for meeting these needs. The main steps for creating an IT strategy are:
- The company must conduct an analysis of the existing IT infrastructure and functionality, to establish if the systems are fit for purpose.
- All IT systems must be mapped to suit the overall business strategy, to ensure IT systems are easily scalable as the business evolves.
- The company must identify the business capabilities that will be needed over the next 3-5 years to support the organisation’s business strategy and realise its vision.
- Assess the gap between the organisation’s current maturity against the future vision for the business.
- Identify and design the target technology architecture that will support the future vision of the business.
- Assess the gap between the organisation’s current and target technology architecture.
- Develop a prioritised roadmap for building the target technology architecture.
- A repeatable process must be created to ensure a constant adaption to changing market priorities, evolving strategies and new technologies.
The degree to which the CIO and the IT function are involved in the first two steps will vary by organisation and will largely depend on how the role of IT is perceived across the business. However, given the growing importance of technology it is becoming essential for IT personnel to be involved at every step, as technology can play a role in both shaping and building the required business capabilities.
Who can help me with my IT strategy?
Many businesses now look to outsource this functionality to a more experienced, trusted IT partner that can take an external view of the organisations IT systems, processes, all the while ensuring the IT systems are in line with the business strategy.
Constructing an IT strategy is extremely complex. Have you ever thought about outsourcing this vital requirement to the experts? Why pay someone to do what we have already done? Development of systems and process is costly and time consuming. Why not go with someone that has already tried and tested it? We outline the prioritisation of short, medium and long term IT requirements and provide an effective roadmap for implementing your IT strategy, whilst ensuring you receive long term support and strategic advice.