Depending on the organization, IT strategic planning can take multiple forms. Generally, it involves IT leaders working with their business-side counterparts to identify IT goals and objectives. A clear IT strategy offers guidance for future technology investments so your IT department or Managed Services Provider can communicate technical concepts in a way that makes sense to other departments.
Identifying Your Risks
For every opportunity, some risks could derail a plan. Identifying these risks early on allows the company to develop treatment plans that minimize the impact or prevent them altogether. These may include increasing staff training, purchasing liability coverage, or eliminating risk. IT strategic planning also identifies how to manage the best existing IT assets and technology investments, including the ability to identify opportunities for re-platforming or consolidating systems to reduce costs. It can help IT leaders create feedback loops and provide visibility into how projects impact the overall portfolio.
An IT strategy can also help reduce Shadow IT, where business units and departments develop their systems without the approval or oversight of central IT. A quality IT strategy from WorkSmart will ensure the organization’s technology investments align with the business goals, are backed by a clear return on investment and mitigate risk. It will also ensure that IT teams have the necessary resources to execute the plan and meet the organization’s growing needs.
Identifying Your Long-Term Goals
A good IT strategy needs to be able to grow with your business and provide flexibility. It is because your IT environment constantly changes as technology evolves and new opportunities arise.
A strategic plan guides decision-making by setting clear goals and objectives that support your business’s long-term vision. It is a roadmap for the future and sets expectations about how IT will deliver value to the organization. Without a long-term plan, it can be easy for managers to make myopic decisions about IT that do not align with company goals. An IT strategy gives managers a framework to follow and allows them to delegate decisions confidently. IT leaders must continuously assess their current IT portfolio inventory and risk assessments to identify how they can best leverage innovation to achieve business goals. An IT strategy will help them decide whether to invest in, sustain, remediate, decommission, or re-platform applications.
Identifying Your Short-Term Goals
A good IT strategic plan will clearly define measurable business outcomes and the steps necessary to achieve them. It will also include the IT infrastructure, systems and processes required to support these objectives. It will help your organization become more agile, autonomous and focused – driving better business results with fewer roadblocks. The IT strategy will also identify short-term goals for the IT team to work towards. It can be anything from regular software patch management to planning IT capital expenditures (CAPEX) such as hardware upgrades. From an operational perspective, this helps the IT team and other departments prepare for upcoming changes and minimize downtime. It will also enable the IT department to plan IT maintenance cycles and ensure all employees have the right tools for their jobs. It could be as simple as scheduling when laptops are upgraded to the latest software or even identifying training plans for staff to make sure they can utilize new IT systems and features.
Identifying Your Opportunities
Developing an IT strategy allows your team to create tactical (short-term) goals that align with your long-term objectives. It could include IT infrastructure assessment, supplier reviews, process re-engineering, etc. It also helps you to identify the skillsets your IT team needs to execute these goals. It will help you prioritize employee training and hire new staff to meet your strategic IT plan.
A robust IT strategy provides clear decision-making guidance for your IT team. Without this, it’s easy to lose focus and make myopic decisions that don’t align with your business model or goals. It also helps your IT department become more efficient, transparent and streamlined with their resources. It, in turn, enables your enterprise to save money and reduce risk. It is important to consider that most enterprises spend between three to four percent of their revenue on IT. An IT strategy helps justify these expenses and ensures that the investments are being used.