Do you have an IT strategy? In truth, the vast majority of organisations don’t. The completion of IT tasks and spending tends to be reactive which means most businesses are doing too much or too little. Worse, they are missing opportunities and falling behind in the technology stakes.
To recap on what an IT strategy is, it’s the ability for a business to understand what it’s next moves and investments are from a technological perspective, that enables the business to be more successful in reaching its goals.
Once you know why this is so important and the basics of how to create an IT strategy you will be in a position to make the most of technology set your business up for the future.
Take an honest look at your IT strategy
- A purchasing plan is not an IT strategy
- Having an IT team is not an IT strategy
- Upgrading your systems or data plans is not an IT strategy
Most businesses operate week-to-week or month-to-month when it comes to IT. You may have an idea of some apps out there that could help your business, an awareness of some security issues which you need to address and a list of what you need to buy when it comes to hard costs such as PC purchases. But there is a tendency to put these in the ‘to do list’ and lowball what is going to break or need replacing, rather than plan around what is really impacting productivity. In worse case scenarios, businesses have no plan at all and often see IT as a problematic expense.
This mind set must change if your business is to remain relevant. Technology is not going anywhere, its centrality to business will only increase. It must be integrated with your whole business and you must take seriously the charge of how to create an IT strategy.
What to consider when creating an IT strategy
The fundamental key in how to create an IT strategy is not to put the entire focus on IT solely. An effective strategy incorporates business strategy and goals, and input and knowledge from all departments, management and leadership teams.
Yes, you need to address IT specific goals in your strategy. But just as importantly, you need to cross-pollinate these with core business, operations, internal and external contexts, and an awareness of bigger picture trends and pressures connected with technology.
Follow these six baseline steps for how to create an IT strategy:
- Pre-planning: include everything that will impact your business in a 12 month period
- Consultation: with middle management, department heads, and leadership teams (in smaller businesses)
- Incorporate knowledge: broad business knowledge across all aspects of IT strategy
- Access expertise: consulting with IT experts who work in the area of strategy can assist enormously
- Document: write the strategy down with a clear outcome of what you’re going to achieve and a clear timeframe
- Review and track: every 12 months, with quarterly or half-yearly check-ins also built in
Capitalise on the benefits of an IT strategy
Strategic IT planning benefits business in a number of ways. There are the obvious – and essential – wins of predicting and controlling costs.
Beyond this you will see improved productivity, morale and collaboration among your teams as they are properly supported by technology to do their jobs.
At a commercial level, IT strategy is a crucial part of market relevance and competitive advantage.
At a higher level again, understanding how to create an IT strategy and implement it, becomes part of your overall business strategic planning. Your IT team will be able to properly create a vision and plan. Your IT leaders will be able to communicate more effectively with other leadership teams, in terms of the investment and long-term pay-offs of IT strategy.
Finally, an IT strategy well-planned and implemented will result in executive buy-in and alignment and a deep integration of strategic technology priorities.
Why outsourcing might be part of your strategy
You will have noted in the six baseline steps for how to create an IT strategy above that point four referred to accessing expertise.
It is very important that you take control of your IT strategy. But this doesn’t mean you have to implement and manage it all on your own.
Outsourcing to an expert in the field, can relieve a lot of stress and burden and provide you with serious advantages when it comes to experience, knowledge and expertise.
Perhaps your business is smaller and you don’t have an IT department or expertise in-house. At the other end of the scale, large organisations can find they really benefit from outsourcing as it opens up strategic possibilities and frees up internal teams to be focussing on new projects and initiatives, rather than managing the nuts and bolts of strategy creation or roll out.
Many businesses are turning to ITMaaS
ITMaaS – IT Management as a Service – is not about replacing IT teams within an organisation. It’s an increasingly popular service that can provide much-needed assistance, expertise and guidance.
Correct Solutions has carefully developed ITMaaS, to help businesses assess, plan and implement IT strategy.
The great benefit of ITMaaS is that it supplements what you are already doing. It’s well worth part of the consideration of how to create an IT strategy for the following reasons:
- Scalable: tap into ITMaaS full time or part time depending on your need
- Enabling: helps you have a broader conversation about IT and its impact
- Focus: your team can focus on areas that will bring the most impact
- Support: assistance with filling knowledge gaps or functional gaps
- Predictability: take the surprise factor out of IT costs
- Trust: work with a team who knows IT inside out and helps businesses with It strategy everyday
For many companies, Correct Solutions are used as a sounding board when it comes to IT strategy and if they feel at the end of the day that you have a grip on your IT strategy and don’t need assistance, they see that as a win for you and for them.
Make the most of your IT
When integrated and implemented properly, IT can take your business forward in remarkable ways. Give your business the best chance by attending seriously to the question of how to create an IT strategy?
Know what you need, take control of the conversation, and use the benefits of external expertise to make sure your strategy is serving your business as best it can.
Check out our educative ITMaaS video and find out just how clear your organisation’s IT strategy, vision and leadership really is.