IT strategy isn’t just for IT companies
Most successful organisations are built around a solid business plan, with marketing strategies and high-quality operational management. Unfortunately, the technology that underpins these plans is often treated as an afterthought rather than a key component.
Whether that’s a manufacturing plant that has the potential to improve efficiencies by embracing technological advancements or an educational organisation that could use technology to reduce workload and improve outcomes for students, the absence of a strategic IT plan could mean the difference between long-term success or short-term failure.
What is strategic IT planning?
Strategic IT planning starts with the process of documenting how technology is used at each level of the organisation and its role in the functioning of each department. Once the foundations have been laid, the plan is extended to review how technology is used, how it could be improved and how future improvements can be achieved with the use of new and developing technology.
While an IT strategy will be tailored to its organisation, there are some common components. These components generally relate to people, processes and technology:
- How technology currently contributes to success
- How technology interacts with regulatory standards, data protection and risk policies
- Audits of hardware, software and cloud tools
- Internal support of technology based on industry standards
- Internal change management and governance
- Financial planning
- Roadmap for future technology upgrades and improvements
Common mistakes of strategic planning
When developing a strategic IT plan, there are some common mistakes that can be avoided by thoroughly planning and testing plans before moving towards implementation. Some of the common mistakes include:
- Investing in technology that will not help achieve the organisation’s goals
- Prioritising projects incorrectly
- Misunderstanding costs of implementation and management of new technology
Benefits of a strategic IT plan
Developing a strategic plan will help you to understand the potential improvements that can be made across the organisation, balanced against the costs that will be required. It also provides a roadmap to success, allowing you to understand the benefits and timescales involved. Some common benefits include:
Competitive advantage – offer new products, features and functionality to your customers.
Reduce costs – improve the way you manage the organisation and how your products and services are produced and delivered.
Increase customer satisfaction – improve your external communication and response times to ensure customers enjoy a better service.
Make long-term planning the norm – provide a springboard to long-term planning across other departments.
Developing a strategic IT plan
Producing a comprehensive strategic IT plan is hard. You need to balance ambitions against available resources and produce draft plans for review by senior leaders and find consensus to build a plan that works for the leadership team, the IT team and the rest of the organisation. The finer details of a strategic IT plan are beyond the scope of this post and will vary between organisations and sectors.
How we can help
Preparing an IT strategy should be a priority for any organisation. As a managed service provider across a variety of sectors, we can help you understand the long-term and short-term improvements that can be made across your organisation – you can contact us today to find out how we can help.