When you decide to go on a holiday, do you ever say, “Let’s just jump in the car and see where we end up?”
Most people don’t. While it’s fun to be spontaneous in some parts of your travels, it’s generally better to know where you’re going first. Otherwise, how would you know what to bring along? You can do a lot with a smartphone, but what if you didn’t have internet connection? What if you couldn’t find a place to stay when you arrived or couldn’t find one in your price range?
In many ways, a business journey is the same. If you don’t create short-term and long-term plans for your company, how will you achieve your goals – and how will you know what IT you need to enable you to get there?
Why IT needs to be based on your overall strategy
Most business owners understand the need to create strategies and plans for the future, but many don’t identify where they want their business to go or have any long-range plans for their journey. A lack of long-range strategic planning often results in companies just plodding along and never reaching their full potential.
At Solutions+, we urge business owners to create an overall long-term business system strategy and road map. Then you can start to work out what IT infrastructure and software is needed to achieve your goals. Given how deeply integrated IT is with every aspect of modern business, an alignment of IT requirements with overall goals is crucial.
Taking the time to develop a highly effective IT strategy allows you to be proactive, not reactive. A good business systems roadmap will help your company realise a much greater return on your tech investments and establish a foundation for long-term success. Building a solid business case that aligns with the overall direction of a company will also make it a lot easier to get funding from your Board or Management Team for any IT investment you need.
Creating a business systems roadmap: Things to consider
A comprehensive roadmap will link to your overall company strategy and direction, outlining things like what you’re hoping to achieve over the next 5-10 years.
Of course, no amount of planning will prepare you for everything. Your business still has to be flexible (if nothing else, COVID taught us that!), but proper planning will alleviate the need to make rapid, unexpected adaptations when you can least afford it.
Once you have your short- and long-term goals in place, a clear roadmap can be designed based on those goals. The IT roadmap will lay out the steps you should take in order to drive more value from IT, stay ahead of emerging trends, and achieve a competitive advantage while improving customer experience along the way.
When putting together your roadmap, keep in mind the following:
- Your underlying IT infrastructure – hardware, software, applications, systems, and networks – will play a big role in being able to run your business efficiently and meet your goals. Keep this in mind and plan ahead for busier periods (such as seasonal shifts in demand) and staff growth that could put extra pressure on your IT systems.
- Along the way, you’ll need to keep an eye on emerging technologies – such as AI and evolving security measures – and their potential to impact both your business and your industry.
- Accounting will be closely connected with your IT expenditure. Know what funds you have now and how much you’ll need to spend on IT to get where you want to go.
- Don’t forget about staff. In addition to hiring in-house talent to manage your IT, remember to include time and funding for staff training and devices. If employees don’t feel comfortable using your systems – or don’t have the tools they need to do their jobs – they’re more likely to leave.
Once you have the right roadmap in place, you can begin to explore the systems, hardware and software that are necessary to get you where you really want to go and create the journey you’ve dreamt about.
If you need help creating a comprehensive business systems roadmap for your company, contact our team at Solutions+ Partnership today.