Have you thought about technology and the role it plays in your company’s success? Strategic Technology Planning bolsters your efforts to establish a competitive advantage through the tactical use of IT resources. Just like you develop and adjust your annual business plan, you should do the same when it comes to technology planning.

“Given the growing importance of technology in every business, technology organizations must have clear strategic direction and priorities that are closely linked to the business strategy,” says Brad Strock, CIO of PayPal. 

It’s not too late to develop your Strategic Technology Plan for 2018. The following are some ideas to get you started. If you’re fortunate enough to have a virtual CIO (vCIO) through your IT Managed Services Provider, they will have the expertise to guide you through this process.

Your Technology Plan should align with your business plan. This will help you lay the foundation for success for the year. Using the right IT solutions can:

  • Accelerate the growth of your business,
  • Increase your operational efficiencies,
  • Ensure maximum productivity from all your staff, and
  • Help you win new business opportunities.

Strategic Technology Planning is an Ongoing Process.

This process doesn’t have an end. It’s a series of “learn and do” cycles because your business needs will change as you grow. The idea of doing this may seem overwhelming, but it’s a necessity if you want your business to thrive in today’s constantly evolving world of technology.

What Are Your Business Requirements?

Before you begin, it’s essential that you determine what your business will be facing in the coming year.

For example:

  • Will you be launching a product or service that requires a new fulfillment system?
  • Are you acquiring another company and you’ll need to merge data?
  • Will you be adding employees to your staff who require additional hardware and software?
  • Will you be handling confidential, proprietary or personal data that needs protecting?

Of course, these requirements may change, and should periodically be adjusted and refined. But answering key questions now will help you define your technology requirements.

Identify the Gaps.

Compare your current IT capabilities with what’s needed to meet your business requirements for the year. Will you need to add IT solutions? With all the new and evolving cyber threats, will your current IT security solutions be enough?

Prioritize Your Technology Needs According to Your Budgetary Allowances.

Once you identify the gaps and potential solutions, you need to align them with what your budget will allow. You might not be able to act on all of them. Make a list of the “must haves” and another of the “would-like-to-have” technology assets. Go for what will give you the best return on your investment (ROI), and what you “must have” to keep your data secure and business running efficiently.

Implementation

Once you’ve prioritized your list, consider how you’ll go about implementing them. Again, it’s best to defer to your IT Managed Services Provider for this. Many organizations forget to plan for implementation and pay the price by going over budget or creating unnecessary delays. Implementation planning is critical as it lays out the steps you’ll take to complete your Strategic IT Plan for 2018.

Do You Need to Make Any Modifications?

No plan is 100% correct, and if you run into obstacles, your Plan should be modified. Most plans are modified after implementation as people discover things they didn’t know beforehand. Perhaps all you need is new software. Microsoft Office 365 handles most of the administrative requirements businesses face today. Consider migrating to Office 365. Speak with your IT Provider about this. It’s an easy, cost-effective solution.

Today’s businesses must embrace new approaches to IT strategic planning that are more business-driven, flexible, and frequently revisited than in years past. CIO October 27, 2017

Sorry, You’re Not Done Yet.

This is because of the dynamic nature of business operations, the ongoing evolution of information technology, and the competitive environment.

To compete with others, you’ll also have to adapt to what your competitors do. Look at Walmart for example. Now they have to compete with the Amazons of the world. They and other brick-and-mortar retailers are being forced to up their online ordering and delivering capabilities.

Both the largest and smallest companies must reassess their Business Plans and Strategic Technology Plans each year. Those that don’t may be overrun by the competition.

According to CIO Magazine: “IT strategic planning must be firmly rooted in the business strategic plan — period.”

It’s essential that you keep track of your changing business requirements, and make sure your technology solutions are in line with them. Your IT Provider can help you make these difficult decisions.

Do you need assistance with your Strategic Technology Planning? Give Alliance Technology Partners a call at (888) 891-8885, or send us an email at sales@alliancetechpartners.com. Our vCIO is always here to help.