Today, IT (Information Technology) plays a critical role in the success of businesses in every industry throughout the world. An IT Strategic Plan is a lifeline for businesses today—and when designed and implemented properly, can improve business processes, drive revenue growth, and achieve cost efficiencies.
Just as your company formulates a Business Plan to help you achieve your goals and objectives, you should develop an IT Strategic Plan to do the same. An IT Strategic Plan will help sustain and promote the growth of your company, and position it for success.
Did You Know?
30% of IT projects fail because they were improperly planned. This is simply money down the drain. And, while the initial costs of an enterprise-wide IT implementation can be substantial, the long-term cost savings will prove to be worth the investment—paying for itself in the long run through increased profits.
The Best-Laid Business Plans Fail Without An IT Strategic Plan
Some believe that with the fast-changing nature of IT, creating and implementing a strategic plan will be a waste of time. They think that it’s enough to simply have some sort of IT in place. However, depending on how well it’s planned, IT can either limit or further growth strategies.
Without an IT Strategic Plan, staff members will typically buy the most convenient, and least expensive IT equipment available, and purchase it in a piece-meal fashion. With a well crafted IT Strategic Plan in place, they would have known to purchase an enterprise-wide IT system that would have been more efficient, reliable and cost-effective in the long run.
Many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) understand the importance of IT planning and are willing to invest the necessary resources in a detailed, IT Strategic Plan. However, there are many more SMBs who value process and planning, yet fail to pay attention to their IT strategy—Or worse, don’t even have an IT strategy. This leads to an increase in IT costs, underperforming systems and a frustrated staff.
The Many Benefits of Developing An IT Strategic Plan
- Reduced internal and external support costs
Without proper planning, you will likely end up with recurring technical issues that cost you money to continually repair. An IT Plan will ensure that the equipment you install will be able to handle your specific and growing needs, and function effectively.
- IT that coordinates with your business goals
If your IT “solution” isn’t solving your business problems, then it’s not the best solution. IT is a tool to reach your business goals. With an IT Strategic Plan that is clearly defined to achieve these goals, you’ve reached the right solution.
- Process efficiencies and productivity will be increased
If your IT system is in sync with your business processes, you’ll experience greater efficiency and productivity. When your IT equipment is working correctly, users will perform their jobs more resourcefully and with an improved attitude.
- Various business systems will be integrated
Many SMBs have multiple IT systems, for example: Enterprise Resource Planning, accounting, Customer Relationship Management, etc.). Your IT strategy should coordinate all of your systems to make IT management a lot simpler.
- A managed approach to hardware and software expenses
An IT plan will help you identify what your specific needs are, and will help you decide on an IT system that meets your specific business needs. This is why it’s so important to align your IT Plan with your business plan. You don’t want to invest more into IT than you have to.
- The increased ability to manage growth
Ensure that your IT system is capable of handling an increase in usage to meet the demands of your growing business. If your IT system isn’t capable of escalating to higher demand, it’s going to negatively impact the growth of your business. Your IT strategy must evolve with the growth of your organization.
- Reduced downtime and data recovery in a disaster
With the implementation of an IT Strategic Plan that incorporates a process for centralizing and storing data offsite (cloud computing), you will reduce downtime in natural and man-made disasters, and be able to recover data instantly and easily.
How to Develop Your IT Strategic Plan
In order to develop a IT Strategic Plan that works, you must begin by having a clear understanding of how your business operates, and what it requires from IT to be successful and profitable.
You must first produce a written Business Plan defining:
- Your vision, mission and objectives,
- The current state of your business,
- The goals you want to achieve for the coming year and years to come, and
- The strategies you’ll use to achieve them.
Your Business Plan is the foundation on which your IT Strategic Plan will be built. With your specific business goals and strategies in mind, you can develop an IT Strategic Plan that promotes the achievement of these goals.
Answer Some Specific Questions (You’ll Probably Need Help From A Professional)
With your business plan in place, ask yourself how your current state of IT relates to your business plan, such as:
- What useful IT resources do you have in place?
- What IT resources do you think you’ll need?
- When do you think you’ll need them?
- What technologies are mandatory?
This can get rather complicated, and guesswork could undermine the process; so it’s a good idea to hire an IT service company to perform a utilization audit and assessment for your business. This will give you the information you need to answer the questions above.
Include the Various Aspects of IT In Your Strategy
When developing your overall IT Strategic Plan, also develop individual plans for every aspect of your business that would benefit from IT, including:
- Business growth,
- Asset management,
- Remote connectivity,
- Network and server configuration,
- Hardware refreshment,
- Software license compliance,
- Disaster recovery, and
*While training is often overlooked, it’s extremely important. Users MUST be properly trained, if you wish to properly implement your IT Strategic Plan.
Don’t Copy Others: Your IT Strategic Plan Should Be As Unique As Your Business
Your individual enterprise is different than others in your industry, so remember that just because an IT Strategic Plan works for another business like yours, it might not work for you. Your IT Plan should be totally customized to meet your company’s specific characteristics and requirements.
IT Providers and Your IT Strategic Plan
Also keep in mind that while one IT provider may have worked well for a peer’s company, it may not be the one to meet your company’s specific needs. Get an IT assessment from a number of different IT providers before you decide on one. Give them your IT Strategic Plan (and your business plan as well) so they can have a full understanding of what you need now and into the future.
An IT service provider should be happy to learn about your business goals, and provide guidance on how you can achieve them through the use of IT. If you have questions, a provider should educate you and share their expertise. This includes information about virtualization; cloud computing, hosted solutions, network infrastructure, multiple programming languages and application development.
Identify your business needs, now and into the future, and you’ll be able to coordinate your IT infrastructure around them. If want to increase your company’s ability to grow—develop an IT Strategic Plan.
Cohn Consulting Corporation is your trusted IT Service organization. We provide IT support Atlanta and North Georgia business relies on each day. Book your no obligation IT planning discussion with Cohn Consulting at 770-321-5532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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