One plan that small businesses often forget to invest time in developing is an IT roadmap. Especially when businesses aren’t in the technology field, the thought process is that all you need is for your systems to be up and running. Getting the most out of technology, and properly allowing your technology to grow with your business, requires much more strategy than this.
Provide a Clear Strategy for Achieving Goals
Saying “I want to move my business to the cloud” or “I want a good backup and recovery plan” without a step-by-step process outlining how to make that happen, means it will likely never be realized.
Align Business and IT Strategy
As with any investment, the overall goals of the business must be considered. When you develop an IT roadmap, you illustrate how the IT goals are in line with the business objectives. Thus, clearly outlining how IT objectives contribute to the overall strategic initiatives for the company.
Prevent IT Strategies from Being Placed on the shelf
Without a clear timeline for when different goals need to be met, and the purpose of the goals understood, it is very easy for IT objectives to be put off with the thought that they can be accomplished later. A roadmap provides the timeline for the completion of various tasks and objectives.
Without an IT Roadmap and goals clearly defined, IT Success could mean little more to your small business than “have I had a computer or server crash lately?” Understanding the goals and what all you want to be able to get out of your technology will provide you with clear criteria for which to measure performance against.
Allow IT Investments to be Strategic
Being strategic with investments is important in any line of business. This is also true with technology, when updating your server could cost anywhere from $499 to over $5,000. You don’t want to go with the cheaper option, only to find out that you didn’t get enough RAM to support your daily business functions.
Visualize Gaps in Resources that Would be Needed
By having a big-picture view of the goals of your IT, you can identify areas where plans are needed to achieve objectives before they become issues. By having all of your goals mapped and out put into a relative timeframe you can avoid these issues.
Modern cyber security is complex. The traditional “I have antivirus” thought process is no longer valid. In order to maintain a secure infrastructure, planning has to be used around when licenses need to be renewed, what is operating on an outdated system, and how those systems will be secured. By having your maintenance and licensing activities planned in a timeline, instead of handled on an ad-hoc basis, you are reducing the risk of a data breach or system crash.
Allocate Resources Effectively
Within each IT project that is outlined for the year, various resources will be needed. These resources include money, technology components, and most of all people. By having a holistic IT roadmap put together, you can visualize how resources can be shared among the different projects. The roadmap also helps you to determine the priorities and focus on how your funds are spent in a methodical manner.
Provide a Framework to Determine Where New Technologies Need to be Adopted
Once the needs and gaps are understood, management and IT leadership will be able to better understand their capabilities for bringing in new technologies, such as new software, newer servers, and mobile support, among others.
In summary, IT road mapping is a process that allows your business to be better prepared for the future. Having a strategic plan in place allows for better ROI through realistic goals, target timelines, prioritization of initiatives, and measured results.
If your small business hasn’t started your IT roadmap for this year, contact us today to learn how we can help.