Technology is ever evolving and therefore any IT strategy needs regular updating and reviewing. IT is a business enabler, so your organisation should be actively seeking opportunities to use IT to drive efficiencies and innovation. If you’re not, you can be sure that some of your competitors are.
So how should you go about reviewing your IT strategy – if you have one? Here we outline 5 steps that will help you identify room for improvement and spot opportunities to get more from your IT.
Step 1: Business strategy
As with any function specific strategies, your IT strategy needs to be aligned with high level business goals. Over time, and as a response to internal or external factors, your business strategy may have evolved without your IT keeping pace.
Review your business strategy and identify where IT fits in. You may be surprised that IT probably plays an important role in all areas – whether it’s for day-to-day operations or to facilitate growth. Look at how IT is supporting key business goals (or not) and where there is potential to drive forward plans with better IT provision.
Step 2: Consult stakeholders
A company’s IT infrastructure and systems impacts stakeholders in different ways, many of whom do not considered how important IT is to their department or role until something goes wrong. In many cases these stakeholders may not appreciate how technology can be used to increase productivity and performance, unless a solution is provided for them. Whereas other individuals may have very specific ideas about what IT should be doing, and they will want to influence the business’ IT strategy.
You may find that key stakeholders have already implemented IT solutions in their department to help drive efficiencies or productivity. Many IT directors are unaware of the range of SaaS solutions subscribed to by their company – with individual departments using their own budgets to pay for them. This obviously has cyber security implications for the business when data is being shared outside of the IT department or CIO’s scope.
Use the strategy review as an opportunity to explore what stakeholders need to meet their targets and objectives, and to collaborate on solutions. Make sure you get full visibility on what is already being used.
Step 3: Review existing IT infrastructure
As part of this consultation, review the company’s existing IT infrastructure and how users within the business are using it. Having identified all existing systems, software and tools it is helpful to create a questionnaire or feedback form to get input from everyone.
You will want to find out about how often IT systems are used, how effective them are, their limitations, their advantages, and how they integrate with other technology solutions in the business.
Ask for impartial feedback, ‘wish lists’ and suggestions – it may be that someone within your organisation knows of a solution that could really benefit the business.
Step 4: Look for opportunities
Having audited the organisation’s current IT provision, and collected feedback from users and stakeholders, now it is time to revisit your IT strategy and see how it is aligned with the overall business strategy.
Look for opportunities to drive through business objectives using technology or by streamlining IT. For example, it may be more cost effective to outsource your IT support to a 3rd party provider and focus your internal IT department’s time and energy on strategic goals.
There may also be opportunities to replace legacy systems and software with cloud solutions that allow greater flexibility, agility, and save money – or operate hybrid models allowing some departments access to the technology tools they do not currently have.
Step 5: Set targets and goals
A strategy must have clear objectives such as to reduce costs, increase productivity, grow revenue etc. It is therefore important to not only set targets and goals for your IT strategy, but also know how to measure them.
These metrics may include service level indicators – the number of IT support tickets raised and how quickly they were responded to. Or the amount of downtime in a given period, and how quickly systems were reinstated.
All aspects of your IT strategy will need a correlating metric, and these must be reviewed in a timely fashion.
We recommend that you review your IT strategy and benchmark key metrics and KPIs on a quarterly basis. If your business is going through change, particularly with digital transformation, you may need to review more frequently.
For IT support and advice on making technology a proactive, strategic partner in your business, contact our team on 0845 507 0846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org