IT is our passion, but most organisations don’t have it so high up their priority list – until something breaks. And who can blame them? Cashflow, staffing, product manufacturing, customer appointments, invoicing, project delivery, work health and safety, tax compliance, marketing, sales … plus a million other things all compete for a business manager’s attention.
When IT does get a moment of your focus, where do you start? It’s no longer a case of putting in a server and relying on it for the next five years. There’s so much choice available now that’s affordable to smaller organisations, not to mention new features in software you already use and could upgrade.
Be confident your technology decisions provide benefits to your business
It’s easy to get stuck in fire-fighting mode. IT capabilities have an immediate impact on productivity and customer satisfaction so a fast solution is critical. That sometimes means the easiest solution is implemented, not the best one. If you get time to work on an enhancement or a strategic project it can go on the back burner very quickly if something more urgent comes up. But when you’re busy chopping down trees, you need to dedicate some time to stop and sharpen your saw.
To ensure you are making the right technology decisions, you need to align them with your business goals. Prior planning is the best way to keep constant IT tactical moves in step with your business challenges, opportunities and direction. Other critical decisions like purchasing, hiring and advertising support your business strategy so ideally IT needs to be represented in your strategic planning. It’s an underlying enabler, contributing to solving your most important business problems.
IT strategy and planning in practice
We’ve found that the best way to make this happen is to:
- Get out of your office and away from any distractions.
- Run an external workshop with your key technology advisers every 12 months, taking into consideration your annual financial and business planning. Add the results of this to your company’s annual strategic plan.
- Every quarter, review how you’re progressing against this plan. Have you made progress and improved any areas of your business because of it? It’s important to see results or adjust your plan.
- Finally, review whether your technical foundations are sufficient to support your business. For example, do you need to replace some ageing hardware or move some workloads to the Cloud, to enable your business to perform and grow?
Throughout the year, unexpected IT requirements will still pop up. Perhaps your accountant recommends changing to different financial software – how do you weigh up the options? It’s worth getting an independent opinion from someone who see technology working in many different business and who will provide an objective assessment i.e. scoring points on various attributes.
When you are stuck in the daily grind, it’s nearly impossible to think strategically. Yet if your strategy is in place first, the daily decisions become so much easier. Get your key people out of the office with time and space to think and make sure IT is represented as a key stakeholder. Then you’ll have certainty that your IT strategy is supporting your business objectives.
Correct Solutions can help steer your planning in the right direction. Our Strategy Workshops effectively kick-start ideas, instead of you staring at a blank piece of paper. If you have a one-off requirement, our Solution Selection Workshops help you weigh up the pros and cons, making it easier to decide on a new solution.
Give us a call on 1300 267 765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and bring your technology into alignment with the plans you have for your business.