Information Technology (IT) systems play a major role in your business’ success. With the ability to streamline workloads, improve customer relationships and support business growth, it’s important to give your IT infrastructure the attention it deserves. This is commonly done using an IT STrategy. An IT strategy is a plan that lays out your business goals and how your hardware, software and other IT tools can support you in achieving those ends. No two IT strategies are alike, so we’re going to provide step-by-step instructions that answer the question “How do you develop an IT strategy?”
1. Identify Your Business Goals
The first stage of planning a successful IT strategy is to define your business goals. Modern IT systems are incredibly powerful, and they have the ability to make or break a business. Ensuring your new strategy aligns with your short, medium and long-term business goals allows you to develop the most effective solutions possible. When identifying your business goals, consider things like:
- Your business strategy and purpose
- Planned growth
- The challenges your business will face in the next few years
- Revenue projections and targets
- New opportunities like emerging markets, products and suppliers
2. Define the Scope, Purpose and Timescale
Strong business goals are measurable and time bound. That means your IT strategy should be too. Defining the scope, purpose and a timescale gives you a framework that can be shared with stakeholders to communicate how the strategy affects different areas of the business.
In particular, it’s important to create a schedule for your IT strategy. It’s common for IT strategies to be long-term, but the industry moves quickly, and an effective strategy leaves room for review. Your schedule should define the key stages of the strategy – Implementation, Execution, Testing and Review – so that you know when the strategy becomes effective and when it needs to be revised.
3. Review Your Existing IT Systems
A new IT strategy doesn’t mean you have to replace your existing systems. Reviewing and incorporating your existing software, hardware and IT infrastructure into the plan can actually assist you with identifying bottlenecks. Take an inventory of each system and ask critical questions like:
- What hardware, software and IT systems does each team use?
- How are those pieces of technology being used?
- Are there any systems that are particularly successful for your teams?
- Are employees struggling with your current systems?
Consult with your teams and collect honest feedback on how your current tools and systems work together. This should help you identify what is and isn’t working and how your new IT strategy can improve efficiency.
4. Develop Your Strategy and Allocate Resources
This is where we get into the meat of your IT strategy. You can begin by identifying the major tools, systems, software and hardware that will be incorporated into your IT strategy. That includes existing infrastructure as well as any new systems that will be integrated as part of the project. It’s often helpful to take input from your team leaders to ensure that any department-specific tools are included in the plan, like specialist CRM or accounting software.
From there, you can begin to think about how each part of the new IT strategy will be activated and integrated. For example, what is the project budget and where will the money come from? Will employees require training with new systems? Who will oversee the implementation and troubleshooting of new technologies? Break the system down into its components and objectives, and keep track of this information using an IT strategy spreadsheet. Sometimes as part of this strategy, it is identified that a business needs to outsource its IT requirements and engage a local company that does managed IT services Brisbane wide.
5. Determine Success Metrics
Your business needs to see a return on the investment you’re making in your new IT strategy. Since IT systems often increase efficiency in lots of small ways, it may be challenging to identify how and why your strategy is affecting the business. How you define the success of your IT strategy is up to you, but it’s common to use metrics like:
- The volume of inbound enquiries
- Employee capacities and workloads
- Sales budgets vs targets
- Customer satisfaction reports
- Direct feedback from employees, customers and other stakeholders
The KPIs you develop will help you determine whether the activation of your new strategy has been successful and which areas need improvement. Don’t forget that your IT strategy is designed to support your business goals, so you need to tie your success metrics to those high-level objectives. For example, if your aim is to increase sales, you may prefer to use revenue metrics to measure the success of your IT strategy.
6. Incorporate Cyber Security into Your Strategy
Cyber security threats are on the rise. If your business is compromised it could cost you time, money and your good reputation. The best way to avoid these issues is to build cyber security measures into your IT strategy. Throughout the process of developing your strategy, pay special attention to potential risk areas and consider how those problems can be addressed. This may require specialist cyber security systems, or it could be as simple as providing training that helps employees to mitigate risks.
Support Your Business Growth with an IT Strategy by Surety IT!
The right IT strategy has the potential to bolster your business and support your long-term growth and goals. While creating a new IT strategy may seem daunting, the process is relatively straightforward, and professional help is never far away! Surety IT is an outsourced IT provider that specialises in IT strategy services. We work with businesses of all sizes, and our collaborative strategy process ensures our solutions are tailored to your specific needs. We understand the importance of what we do, which is why our services are backed up by a team of industry professionals with decades of experience. If you’d like to take your business to the next level, contact us today to discuss your IT strategy!