IT strategic planning is critical to ensure that your business is well-positioned to engage in a vigorous business environment.
Information Technology is at the centre of an enterprise’s operations, especially now, when businesses are increasingly deploying digital tools to ensure business as usual whilst adhering to the new norm. Meanwhile, businesses are beginning to realise the importance of IT to keep things moving, not only here in the United States, but around the world. Finally, IT Strategic Planning must include detailed input from company leadership and needs to be highly aligned with the company’s overall strategic plan. Thereby, when done properly, the benefits of a robust IT Strategic Plan include:
- Reduction in operational expenses by way of automated tasks
- Electronic Data Management
- Enhanced Collaboration
- Efficient and secure data sharing
- Effective Knowledge management
What is IT Strategy?
In summary, an IT strategy is a comprehensive plan that puts forth the definition and process of how technology should be utilized to meet the various IT and business goals. Moreover, It is a roadmap of how technology can support your business operations.
Therefore, it essentially encompasses all facets of technology from management of cost, hardware and software to vendor and risk management.
10 Key Elements of IT Strategic Planning
To ensure objectivity while drafting an IT strategy, it is a standard procedure to enlist help of consultants to carry out the process. However, if your organization has the skills, resources, and expertise in-house, it is best to involve all stakeholders, including ones outside the IT environment to ensure fairness and requisite buy-in across the company.
IT planning is no longer considered a support function but the foundation on which every successful business is built. Hence, executing and developing a clear IT roadmap can play a significant role in helping you reach your business goals. Here are the key elements:
1. Vision and Mission
Vision and mission of your strategy outlines and sets a destination for the business. Accordingly, it is where your business aspires to be with regards to IT and provides a roadmap on how to get there.
Additionally, a detailed roadmap includes all the steps an organization must take to drive more value from IT to achieve a competitive advantage
3. Business Alignment
Equally important, Given the need for deep integration of IT with every aspect of your company, the alignment of IT and business goals is imperative to have a clear vision of what the company expects to achieve and how IT can contribute to these endeavours..
IT strategy is not complete without assigning a budget to the project. Thus, it is important to know how much your business can afford and what is the value of benefits IT has to offer. Consequently, developing a financial assessment of IT systems and processes can give you control over the company’s performance.
5. Competitive Advantage
No strategy is complete without knowing what your competitors are doing. Therefore, to stay ahead and remain competitive, conduct a competitive analysis, and specify what advantages IT can offer the company with respect to its competitors.
6. Short Term Goals
Your IT strategy should state what your organization is looking to achieve in the short-term. Moreover, this can include training staff, assessment of current IT structure, and identification of redundant systems and processes.
7. Long-Term Goals
In addition to your short-term goals, your IT strategy should also have a long-term IT goal. Similarly, your long-term goal should be clear and well-aligned with your vision. Finally, this can include modernizing your website, embracing AI, or integrating new technologies.
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8. Continuous Assessment and Monitoring
If the past year has taught us anything, it is that nothing can be truly planned. Of course, losing sight of the roadmap is easy during uncertain times. Accordingly, to stay on track and evolve with the changing business landscape, it is important to include continuous assessment as a part of your overall IT strategy. Furthermore, regular assessments will help you evaluate your current position and shed some light on adjustment that are required to be made to ensure your business is moving in the right direction.
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It signifies the limitation your business can place on your IT strategy. Specifically, effective governance will allow you to tackle issues that arise with technology adoption.
10. IT infrastructure
This encompasses all the software, hardware, application, networks, and systems necessary to run the business. Indeed, IT infrastructure will help your business achieve its goals on time and budget.
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Why is IT Strategy Important?
Having defined IT strategy and laid out the various elements that go into developing an effective IT strategy, we come back to the question, why is it important. Subsequently, strategic Planning lets us begin with the end in mind. Nevertheless, If we do not know where we want to be in 3-5 years, how do we ever stand a chance of getting there?
An IT strategy gets us out of our day-to-day break-fix situations and helps us focus. It enables us to differentiate between what is important and urgent. In addition, it supports us in developing a mechanism for achieving what is critical. Overall, it provides a north star to be followed, even if we move off track. On the whole, a strategic plan can help you address unexpected emergencies and allows you to create a system for achieving what is important.
As a business leader, proper understanding and implementation of your plan will ensure that your business is well-positioned to engage in a vigorous business environment. To sum up, incorporate the components above and leverage your IT to achieve positive results.