IT Strategy Guidelines for Your Business

IT Strategy Guidelines for Your Business
IT Strategy Guidelines for Your Business

From one working day to the next, there are certain elements of the business world that need to be monitored. These elements are often fundamental pieces of the puzzle when it comes to building your brand and a successful product, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

At the heart of this ideology comes your IT needs. Whether you’re a small or big operation, there are so many moving parts concerning technology - and, of course, the world wide web. There are variables to consider from the moment the letterhead is formed to the day you celebrate your 10th anniversary of existence.

As such, we thought discussing some IT strategy guidelines would be a good idea. The development of these practices can save you a lot of headaches and give a clearer picture of what the next one, two, or five years look like from this particular point of view.

What Is an IT Strategy?

For anyone who thinks that an IT strategy simply comes from a quick brainstorm or two, you’d be wrong. While there are experts who can configure a strong game plan and simultaneously improvise if necessary, a lot of thought and meaning go into a long-term IT strategy.

In essence, an IT strategy is the plan that makes up all of the key targets, objectives, and techniques that will be used to help run and grow your business, by investing in the proper IT systems and technologies. It speaks to how IT can be utilized to help your company achieve those goals, often presented in a digital or written document comprising several contributors.

It also needs to take all sides of the cube into consideration. From different forms of management to specific programs and data structures, the one word we’d use above all is ‘comprehensive.’

The Benefits of a Properly Configured IT Strategy

You can’t improve anything without having a clear direction ahead, and that is crucial as well with a solid IT strategy. Any possible risks, or eventual rewards, can and will first be highlighted within this plan. It’s a step-by-step way of knowing whether or not you’re on the right path; if you aren’t, contingencies can always be put in place to course correct..

A properly organized IT strategy will provide tools to understand your risks, objectives, and respond to any changes or complications. The initial work of putting together the plan, and the ongoing discipline to keep it updated (we recommend quarterly reviews for most organizations) is indeed an effort, but an effort that pays great dividends. It’s like when you finish your homework two weeks ahead of everyone else; you may feel like it’s a pain at first, but then you realize just how much stress you’ve alleviated.

With a framework in place, there is an understanding between all parties involved and an understanding of the common goal. Sure, at first glance, it may lead to initial anxiety, but it’ll all be worth it once you see the results play out before your very eyes.

IT Strategy Guidelines That Your Business Should Follow

1. Lay out your business objectives

How exactly do you want to find the success you crave, and how does that best align with your business operations? It all may sound like a lot of talk and very little else, but alignment is vital before even talking about other elements that may come into play. If your IT strategy differs in any way from your objectives as a company, then any kind of collaboration begins and ends right there.

Once you have a clear understanding of your business goals and objectives, you will now have a much easier time of aligning technology priorities with these business prorities. In the modern age of technology, one thing that has become crystal clear is that it’s easy to get left behind - which you will if you don’t take this part of the business seriously.

Your organization’s core values, core customer, target market, product, and culture should all be taken into account when designing a proper IT strategy. There are many ways to achieve success with technology, and when aligned with these fundamental business objectives, the chances of success multiply!

2. Timeline

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and while technology can move fast, being intentional about your IT strategy timeline will help your plans come into reality.. The phrase ‘time sensitive’ is so often thrown around when in reality, all that’s going to do is cause a panic if everything is the top ‘time sensitive’ priority.. It’s better to sit back, focus, and really analyze what are the goals, and in what priority order do they need to be achieved. Keep in mind, across different industries, timelines might take shape in different ways.

Take manufacturing as an example. There are quite regularly some harsh conditions associated with this line of work, and, quite regularly, things are quite demanding. It’s all about hitting deadlines and getting things done on time, but the only way to achieve that is by first sitting down and working through an itinerary that leaves you room to breathe, and focus on the right priorities at the right time.

3. Your IT strengths & weaknesses

In the words of Perry Cox: “What are you good at? What do you suck at?” (We know you don’t suck, but it’s fun to lighten the mood sometimes, right?)

A pros and cons list is an idea as old as time. It can start with you grabbing a pen and paper before letting all your thoughts flood out at once. Or, it can take on a more cautious approach, with a team of your own specialists examining what’s working and what isn’t. Velo’s clients go through a methodical IT strength anaylsis to help determine these strengths and weaknesses related to their IT systems.

How are you gaining traction for your company through IT, and how are you dropping the ball? It’s okay to admit that there are areas to improve in, but in equal measure, it also doesn’t hurt to acknowledge where you’re already having some joy.

4. Budget overview

Aligning technology strategy with your organizations budgetary requirements is key to successfully getting buy-in from shareholders on IT improvements. Once you have aligned your IT strategic plan with business objectives, created a timeline, and identifed the key strengths and weaknesses - you have to get the money to pay for the improvements! This is always a lot easier once you have alignment and value driven by these other areas. 

Often budget constraints can lend to delays and changes in the IT strategy timleine. Knowing you have done your homework, and aligned your key priorities - you will know have the flexibility to work through these delays while still advocating for the high priority items. A comprehensive managed IT services program can provide these types of well thought out strategic plans, and regulary keep up-to-date with changes in your organization.  .

5. Document your progress & isk management

One of the biggest benefits of a well thought out strategic plan is being able to demonstrate progress and the reduction in your organization’s risk. This creates value with shareholders and puts some wind in your sails for future strategic improvements. When strategic plans are approved and are well implemented, it is always critical to update your plan, demonstrate progress, and quantify both the performance improvements and risks that have been curbed.  

Whether you are a law firm, manufacturing organization, or in the fast-paced financial services world, a solid strategic plan can bring to the table many productivity improvements, so always be sure you take some sort of baseline measurement, implment your plans, and then measure your expected outcomes. This kind of througouh approach will allow your organization to experience the benefits of your IT strategy first hand, while also having the documented proof to back it up and encourage further business growth and technology investment.

Need some help? Contact Velo

As can so often be the case, the noise and confusion surrounding IT matters can easily serve as a detriment to those who aren’t used to the sector. Whether it be due to the technical side of things or how many headaches can often appear, it’s not hard to understand why some get frustrated — especially when trying to come up with a set IT strategy. That’s where Velo comes in.

As a managed IT service provider, Velo can help to carve out a plan of attack for your company. Moving forward, we can create the kind of partnership that will only help your business go to the next level, and it’ll happen through commitment, hard work, and dedication.

Velo’s unique managed IT services program is crafted specifically for SMBs and delivers a world-class IT strategic planning process that is sure to help your business progress and make shareholders happy with the results! 

So, if you’re interested in learning more, feel free to get in touch!

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