The role of business IT has changed dramatically in recent years. From mere support tools, it became enablers of business transformation. Therefore, an effective IT strategy is essential to any organisation that wants to stay ahead of the curve.
Much like any business initiative, developing an effective IT strategy involves a lot of nuances. To help you understand these, we’ve compiled the key elements of a winning IT strategy for your business.
1. Comprehensive assessments and team discussions
The foundation of any IT strategy begins with a thorough assessment of a company’s current technology framework. The evaluation should cover everything from hardware and software infrastructure to managing and storing data. It would be best if you also analysed your business processes to identify inefficiencies in how existing technology solutions are being used.
Holding company-wide discussions involving each department is a great way to understand where your company stands. Teams can air their gripes with the current system and offer suggestions for improvement. The insights from assessments and discussions will give you an idea of what goals and objectives to set for your IT strategy.
2. Clear goals and measurable objectives
An effective IT strategy has clearly defined goals and objectives. Goals are general statements that describe what you want to achieve, while objectives are specific and measurable targets that help you track the progress of your goals. For instance, your goal may be to increase operational efficiency through hybrid work and digital transformation. To achieve this, your objectives may be to install a mobile device management platform and use cloud services like Microsoft 365. By setting specific objectives, you can accurately gauge the success of your IT strategy.
3. Technology vetting and selection
Choosing the right technology solutions that align with your company’s objectives is critical to any IT strategy. However, with the vast array of available options, it can be challenging to know where to start.
That’s why you must first ask yourself what features and capabilities you need from a technology solution before beginning your search. For example, if you need detailed insights into your financial data, you may need advanced accounting software with centralised dashboards and data visualisation features. Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential software providers, evaluate their customer service, pricing plans, and security protocols to ensure they’re the right fit for your business. You’ll also want to ask for a free demo of their product to assess user-friendliness and integration compatibility.
4. Cybersecurity considerations
When you make significant changes to your network infrastructure, you need to consider how those changes will impact your cybersecurity posture. Adding new devices, software, and processes can create new entry points for cybercriminals, so updating your security protocols is essential.
Ensure your security plan covers network security, data protection, and security training. It would be best if you also prepared an incident response plan to minimise the devastation caused by a successful cyberattack. Regardless of what IT strategy you implement, a cybersecurity consultant should be able to help you shore up your defences against the latest threats.
5. An inclusive project team
To ensure that your IT strategy is successful, assemble a diverse project team consisting of members from different departments and levels within the company. This will ensure that all stakeholders have a say in how the IT strategy is developed and implemented.
Furthermore, project team members can pilot test IT strategies and secure buy-in from other employees before full implementation. This will help to ensure a smooth transition and reduce resistance to change.
6. Realistic project timelines
Companies often try to do too much quickly, leading to project delays and cost overruns. Instead, set realistic timelines for each strategy development and implementation stage. To know how much time is needed, you’ll need to factor in the project’s scope, the complexity of the technology solutions being used, and the availability of resources. For example, cloud migrations can take up to a year when you consider the time needed for account provisioning and management, data transfer, backup configurations, application testing, and user training.
7. Regular evaluation and improvement plans
As your company grows and evolves, you should constantly evaluate your IT strategy to ensure it aligns with your business objectives. Review your strategy at least once a year and make adjustments as necessary. Document your IT strategy so it can be updated and improved by successive generations of leaders. After all, your business is only as strong as its ability to adapt to change.
8. Professional insight and expertise
Evaluating, designing, and improving an IT strategy is a complex undertaking. Hence, it pays to have an experienced consultant at your side. A reputable managed IT services provider usually has a team of certified professionals who can help you with every stage of the process, from conducting assessments to selecting and deploying technology solutions.
When looking for an IT consultant, you should check their industry certifications. Moreover, areas of expertise and customer testimonials are important to verify their credibility. Ideally, you want a provider with experience helping businesses in your industry overcome similar IT challenges.
Empower IT is Australia’s leading MSP, and we can develop an IT strategy unique to your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.