IT strategy is a comprehensive and detailed plan that describes how technology should be used to meet your company’s IT and business goals. In a written form, it details the multiple factors that affect your organisation’s use of technology and supports and shapes its overall business strategy.
IT strategies are usually quite complex and should cover all elements of technology management, including cost management, human capital management, hardware and software management, vendor management and risk management.
Unfortunately, many companies fail to ensure a comprehensive IT strategy. According to the Goldsmiths University study, 46% of UK organisations are “endangered” as they fail to adopt IT to their competitive advantage, making them less likely to survive. You don’t want your company to share their fate, do you?
If you want to create an IT strategy that will maximise the potential of your company, make sure to check out my short list of steps.
The Benefits of a Well-Designed IT Strategy
Creating an IT strategy is an organisation-wide effort but it's worth it. Here's why:
- It supports a unified approach to managing and sharing information across the company to strengthen cooperation between departments and prioritize technology initiatives and increase efficiency, improve collaboration, and minimize the risk of errors.
- It facilitates data collection, processing, governance, and analytics.
- It introduces a holistic and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity to protect customer and employee data.
- It supports business processes, at the same time focusing on technology trends.
- It allows your IT team to take an active role in resource allocation and project planning to support informed decisions and improve strategic initiatives.
- It improves drives transparency and improves communication between the IT team and other departments, as well as business leaders, resulting in a more comprehensive information technology strategy and effective processes and procedures.
How to Create an IT Strategy For Your Business
An IT strategy provides a framework that supports the implementation of technology solutions. Here are some essential steps that will help you design a successful IT strategy.
Outline your business objectives and high-level objectives
As I mentioned before, the primary function of your IT strategy is to support your business needs and capitalise on your company’s potential. That’s why the process of planning an IT strategy is so important and should never be underestimated.
In the first stages of planning, you should outline your business goals, needs and future objectives. Only by doing so, you can set priorities and correctly plan the next steps. Depending on the type of your organisation, as well as the market you work in, you may also want to consider analysing sales pipeline and targets, plans for future partnerships or acquisitions, growth plans, and any investments. Assessing all these aspects will help you clarify your company’s mission and potential opportunities for development.
The importance of this step cannot be overstated. The most successful organisations know that aligning their IT planning and strategy with their overall business strategy is a recipe for success.
IT Strategy: Define your scope, stakeholders and schedule
Have you created a list of business objectives and plans for your company? Great! However, do not rest on laurels, it’s only a beginning. In the next step, you must define your scope, stakeholders, as well as schedule.
As you know, transparency in business is a priority. That’s exactly why it’s important to introduce everybody to whom it applies to the new plans for IT strategy. Employees who will be delivering it, and those who should abide by the rules should be on the same page when it comes to IT strategy implementation. You should also define how it affects different business units and functions.
In the next step, you should contact your stakeholders. Be consultative and open-minded to get the full picture of key people’s expectations, plans and habits, and to define their technological needs and requirements clearly.
It’s also important to define the lifespan of your IT strategy. You should define key phases, such as implementation, integration, review and set a launch date, as well as a potential check-up deadline.
Having your scope, schedule and a list of stakeholders ready will be useful in creating a roadmap for implementing your IT strategy.
Create a roadmap for architecture and resources allocation
Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, if you’ve been following the right processes then this step will be quite easy.
First of all, start by defining your overall technology architecture. This is made up of the major hardware, software, and other tools you’ll be using. . Then consider any department-specific technology that might be required to meet business goals and think about how the parts in your architecture fit together, and what processes will lead to their integration.
And one last point: keep the information in a common, easily accessible place for the ones who may need it. As I mentioned before, transparency is key!
Review your existing infrastructure
When planning an IT strategy it’s important to remember that it’s not reinventing the wheel. And that’s exactly why you should take a step back and take a closer look at your existing IT infrastructure. By doing so, you will be able to review and assess past procedures, define problems and identify whether and where there’s room for improvement.
By critically reviewing your current IT infrastructure, you’ll be able to plan an IT strategy based on the resources that your company already has and make use of what is already available, without underestimating the importance of technology trends. You’re also less likely to repeat the old mistakes. And on top of that, it gives you an opportunity to save money and time that you would otherwise spend on implementing an entirely new infrastructure.
As the managers say, „what gets measured, gets done”. To make sure that your IT strategy benefits your company, you need to define a set of KPIs to measure the effectiveness of introduced alterations and changes.
There’s no point in introducing a new IT strategy or just some alterations if it’s not cost-effective and functional. To prevent your company from wasting time and resources on an ineffective strategy, make sure to analyse key metrics to assess the performance of your business over a period of time. KPIs will help you decide what works and what doesn’t and apply changes accordingly.
The Importance of IT Strategy
An IT strategy, if thoroughly researched and created correctly, can drive development and efficiency in your business. It can support your goals and business objectives, ensuring that your technology investments deliver value for your business.
However, remember that your IT strategy may need to change over time as challenges, opportunities, and technology trends shift. It's important that you review and adjust your IT strategic plan regularly.