For most businesses, IT is becoming increasingly important. The speed at which you conduct business with customers and suppliers is also accelerating.
As we become more reliant on digital services it is important to plan how your business will adopt new technologies.
Increasing complexity, increased competition, new data sources and increasing compliance requirements also mean you have to adapt to stay competitive.
What is becoming clear is your strategy is more important than ever and it is worth considering new approaches to help your business achieve its goals.
Being agile and flexible whilst understanding your business goals could help set you apart from your competition.
One size fits all?
It’s unlikely that the same IT strategy and planning process will work for every business.
Even within a single business, different departments will have different challenges. For example, the sales and marketing teams may have a different set of requirements to that of the finance team. They may need to adopt a more agile approach to a campaign or pitch to those departments in more predictable areas.
It is important to remember your planning and strategy can be flexible and adaptable, it is there to help you meet your businesses strategic vision.
What you must consider is your planning and strategy is not a blocker stopping you from adopting a new system or technology because it’s not in the plan. You cannot hold your business back while others change and adapt.
Where to start?
Although no business is the same, you can start by identifying a few fundamental things to help start your planning process:
- What are your key business goals?
- Understand each business units needs and wants
- Assess and understand your current technology estate and identify the good and bad
- Implement regular touch points with all business units to understand the challenges they face
- Build a framework for the planning and re-planning of your technology estate
By understanding your business goals and identifying your internal needs you will be able to build a picture of how technology is used in the business and what impact a change will have on a department or the entire organisation.
Look at your longer-term goals and visions for the business, these will in most circumstances break down into short and medium-term objectives such as customer satisfaction, sales targets and revenue growth.
Engage both IT and business expertise when approaching your planning and strategic goals. This will help identify new and emerging technology that could help the business gain an advantage.
Once your strategy is set at a high level you can then start on the more detailed planning aspects and start planning your journey.
You should engage with your IT consultants to help identify any technological blockers that may cause issues further down the road. They can also help to look at scaling out and the flexibility the technologies identified may have and if your architecture is fit for purpose.
Once you have the plan ready it is important to determine how the strategy will be executed, supported and managed going forward.
Do you need additional expertise? Do you need additional external resources to help manage and support the changes once completed?
Keep involved, the strategy will ultimately fail if consistent communication and feedback aren’t maintained. Your management team and stakeholders need to feedback issues or problems.
It is also important to keep track of new technologies and ways of doing things.
Flexibility and embracing change should help your business stay competitive and enable you to successfully plan your strategy going forward.
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