It’s almost impossible for your IT solutions to be enablers of business growth without a long-term plan. To ensure you end up on the right side of continuous technological change, you must differentiate hype from tangible benefits.
It’s not just about choosing the right time or the right system to upgrade either. IT planning should follow a clear and tactical process to align your technology with key business priorities. Here’s how to do that in five easy steps:
#1. Assess your needs
Before you can begin assessing your IT needs, it’s important to go back to your company vision and determine how and where technology aligns with it. Your first step is to turn to your customers: How can technology enhance the user experience, drive meaningful engagements, and help them achieve what they want in less time and with minimal friction?
The same goes for your employees, which you may think of as your internal customers. Since they’re the ones who will be using your technology every day, you’ll also need to address their concerns.
#2. Choose your people
Every technology strategy should be driven by strong leadership. Some companies place this responsibility in the hands of a CTO (chief technology officer), while those without the in-house expertise often prefer to outsource the job to a managed services provider (MSP). Whichever option you choose, leadership should serve to motivate, educate, and onboard employees with new technologies.
Large technology projects may be driven by entire teams, but what’s most important is that you earn the support of your employees and listen to their needs. Forcing new technology onto people without any thought for their opinions will only backfire.
#3. Prioritize your requirements
It’s imperative that your technology strategy be goal-driven from the outset. This will help you prioritize your needs and eventually establish a timeline for implementation. Your requirements may cover things like purchasing new hardware or software, customizing new solutions, or employee training, to name a few. An IT audit, or professional assessment of existing technology resources, can help you leverage existing resources and define your most pressing needs.
It’s only natural when brainstorming priorities that you’ll end up with a much longer list than originally anticipated. That’s why you need to be realistic about what you can achieve and place mission-critical factors like cybersecurity and data governance first.
#4. Estimate a budget
Although some business leaders set a strict budget right from the beginning, this is unrealistic in most cases due to the complexities of modern enterprise technology. Fortunately, there will usually be multiple ways to achieve your goals. One of the biggest choices to make is between in-house and outsourced support.
Will you build or upgrade your own in-house data center, or will you turn to the cloud to save costs? With your goals and priorities clearly defined, you’ll be able to establish a budget and shop around for suitable solutions. Just be sure to factor in expenses like employee training, ongoing maintenance and updates, and any loss of working hours.
#5. Create a timeline
Some technology plans can take months or even years to implement, especially if you’re relying on limited in-house expertise. While timelines need to be versatile enough to account for any unforeseen events, they also need to be solid enough to keep up the momentum and avoid overshooting deadlines.
Technology plans are typically executed across phases chosen to align with your priorities, but they must be realistic to avoid any unnecessary disruption or data migration problems. Typically, the first step in any technology timeline will be to create the necessary backups to keep your data safe in the event of a migration problem.
Athens Micro provides the full range of business IT services so you can stop worrying about technology and get back to running your organization. Call us today to get started.
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