In today’s digital age, information technology (IT) plays a crucial role in the success of any business. A well-crafted IT strategy can help organisations achieve their goals, improve productivity, reduce costs and gain a competitive advantage. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of creating an IT strategy, covering what to include and the different types of strategies available.
What is an IT strategy?
An IT strategy is a plan that outlines how an organisation will use technology to achieve its goals. It is a comprehensive roadmap that addresses the current state of IT within the organisation, the vision and goals for IT, and the necessary steps to achieve them. It may also include a resource plan, a risk management plan, performance metrics and IT governance.
Things to Include in an IT Strategy
There are a number of elements that should be considered as part of an IT strategy, including:
Give an overview of the IT strategy, including any goals, objectives and timelines. It should provide a clear understanding of the strategy to stakeholders and decision-makers.
Current State of IT Within the Organisation
Provide an assessment of the current state of IT within the organisation, including any existing infrastructure, hardware, software and IT processes.
Vision and Goals for IT
Provide an outline of the long-term vision for IT within the organisation, including the desired outcomes, objectives and priorities. This will help to ensure that any IT systems you implement will be designed to support your business as it grows and adapts.
Roadmap for Each Phase
Highlight the necessary steps needed to achieve the desired vision and goals for IT. It should include timelines, milestones and deliverables for each phase of the plan to ensure it stays on track.
Outline the policies and procedures for managing and governing IT within the organisation. This will provide employees with insight into how the IT system should be run and will allow your company to capitalise on this technology for its desired use, increasing productivity rates throughout your business.
Resource Plan (Budget and Costs)
Discuss the budget and costs associated with the new IT strategy. It should outline the resources required, including hardware, software, staffing and training. This will allow you to gauge what funds are needed to achieve your desired outcome and allow you to allocate monthly expenditures appropriately.
Weigh up the pros and cons as you outline the risks associated with the IT strategy and the steps required to manage and mitigate those risks. This will help you to identify potential issues and any preventative measures, ensuring a smoother operation.
Highlight the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure the success of your new IT strategy. It should include metrics for measuring the performance of IT systems, processes and staff.
Types of IT Strategies
There are several types of IT strategies that organisations can adopt, depending on their priorities and objectives. Some of the most popular types are:
This strategy prioritises the use of cloud-based technologies and services over on-premise solutions. It can help organisations reduce costs, improve agility and increase scalability. You can learn more about moving your business to the cloud in our article Moving Your Business to the Cloud.
This strategy prioritises security and risk management over other IT objectives. It can help organisations protect their data, systems and networks from cyber threats.
Digital Transformation Strategy
This uses digital technologies to prioritise the transformation of the organisation’s operations and processes. It can help businesses to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the customer experience. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of digital transformation please read our article 6 Ways Digital Transformation Can Boost Your Business.
Common issues with IT strategies
Due to the magnitude of the tasks required to successfully undertake IT strategy planning, it does come with several challenges. These can be mitigated rather easily with appropriate understanding and preparation, but it’s important to know that they could occur. Some of these are:
Lack of Ownership
For your IT strategy to be successful, you need cross-departmental and cross-functional feedback throughout the organisation. However, your plan should also remain streamlined – too many voices can often make the plan overwhelming and disorganised, which is what leads to mistakes and poor communication. You need a designated hierarchy or spokesperson for each stage of your IT strategy to allow for a smooth transition throughout.
Communication is the key to a successful IT strategy plan. Poor communication in an organisation is the crux of the majority of business failures and IT strategies are no exception. It’s important for all departments and those vital in moving strategy plans along to be aware of what is happening and when. This will allow everyone to remain on target and reduce the likelihood of mistakes occurring.
Lack of Alignment
The most well-executed IT strategies are those that are well-aligned throughout the company. This means ensuring that the appropriate strategies are in place and operating when and where is necessary. This strategic alignment is what will aid businesses trying to implement an entirely new IT strategy.
It is necessary to take your time and ensure that all preventative measures are in place beforehand; rushing will not help your IT strategy at all. However, it’s still important to remain and encourage some appropriate pace throughout your strategy plan. Ensure you move through your plan thoroughly and efficiently and try and be mindful of how much time you are allocating to implement this plan so that you don’t slow down productivity rates.
Creating an IT strategy is a critical process for any organisation. It helps align IT with the organisation’s goals, streamline processes and improve efficiency. By following the steps outlined in this guide and selecting the appropriate strategy, organisations can achieve their objectives and gain a competitive advantage in today’s digital age.
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